First Look: The New ‘Aiea Public Library

Take a tour inside the new ‘Aiea Public Library.

Photography: David Croxford

For decades, the ‘Aiea Public Library seemed like a hidden secret. Although about 2,000 people walked through every week, newcomers looking for the branch often missed the 1964 building that was not visible from the street.

That is definitely not the case anymore. One side of ‘Aiea Heights Drive literally ends at the lofty, photovoltaic-panel paved rooftop of the new ‘Aiea Public Library. Built on the site of the former ‘Aiea Sugar Mill, the architectural design by CDS International reflects the buildings that sat there from 1899 to 1998. Read more about that on

The library opens this weekend, much to the excitement, we’re sure, of the families of ‘Aiea who have been waiting since the old library closed on June 7. It took 1,000 moving bins to get everything from Moanalua Road to the current location. We were fortunate to get a tour before the grand opening.

By the Numbers:

Size: 17,200 square feet. Almost double the size of the original building.

Parking stalls: 52. More than double the number at the original site.

Address: 99-374 Pohai Place

Hours: Same as the former library. Monday through Wednesday and Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Thursday, 1 to 8 p.m. Friday and Sunday, closed.

Photo: David Croxford

The Layout: Front and center: Computer center and circulation desk.

When you first walk through the doors, you’ll see the computer center. Thirteen laptop and desktop computers, two more than the former location, all hooked up to high-speed internet. The checkout counter is also straight ahead.

To your immediate right are the children CDs and DVDs. The great thing about the extra space is that the CD and DVD cases are on display, so it is simple to quickly scan for your favorites.

To the right: Children

Turn right and you’ll move into the children’s area, which takes up half of the library. Seven small tables and two larger ones sit in front of a wall of windows facing the parking lot. Nonfiction books line the walls. Fiction books are in rows of kid-friendly shorter shelves. To the right, a sliding-door-enclosed room will be used for storytime and quiet reading.

To the left: Adults

Adult and young adult reading. The adult reading area features several club-style chairs with a view that stretches all the way to the Arizona Memorial.

One thing to note: ‘Aiea Public Library has one of the largest manga and anime collections in the state. It is located in the young adult section, closer to the back wall.

‘Aiea library regulars may think the new branch has more books and materials than the old location. Actually, the collection is the same, it’s just that books and more no longer need to be stacked on top of overcrowded shelves. But now, the staff can expand its selection since the library can hold up to 86,000 books, DVDs and CDs.

What else is new:

  • Self checkout. On the left side of the checkout counter, two self-service kiosks will be available. Parente note: When we tried it, the checkout was simple. However, stamping the due date in the right spot on that lined slip of paper was challenging.
  • Separated program room. Community groups and library programming can now be completely separate from the main area. The room is located outside of the main doors, across the entry breezeway, so noise-levels and activity will not impact regular patrons.
  • Photovoltaic panels. CDS International expects the library to be LEED certified gold.
  • Access from Hakina Street. A gated stairway gives families on this residential street a straight path to the library. You should know it’s a pretty good work out. In fact, we spotted people in running clothes doing laps up and down.

‘Aiea Public Library opens Saturday, July 19. Music and speeches start at 10 a.m. The library will open to the public shortly after the conclusion of the program. Call 483-7333 for more information or read more on

Nānākuli will be the next community to receive a new library. Click here to see the renderings and learn more about the new branch.

We spoke to CDS International principal Glenn Miura about the design, partially inspired by his history with sugar mills. For more on that plus a photo gallery of historic sugar plantation photos, go to