2016 President’s Report

Our current president, Ruth Bernstone, gave the following report at our general meeting on January 15:

It’s hard to imagine that 2015 could be more adventurous than 2014, but it was!  With many new programs and the continuation of old ones, all of us were kept very busy.

I’d like to start by telling you about my trip to Honolulu this week.  Representative Cindy Evans was to be awarded the Legislative of the year Award by the Friends of the Library of Hawaii and asked me to come and share this occasion with her.  It was held at Washington Place, currently considered the Governors house, but it has a long history and was home to Queen Lili’okulani before her arrest. I was fortunate to get a tour of the place following the award ceremony.

The Governor and Mrs. Ige were present, along with Stacey Aldrich and Keith Fujiyo from the State Librarian’s office, several legislators, Amy Asselbaye from the State Board of Education, and FLH affiliates.

In her speech, Cindy told the story of the beginning of her love of libraries.  She was a latchkey kid growing up in the Midwest – her mother being one of the few that worked at that time, and the library was a safe and interesting haven for her where she spent many hours looking at the pictures in books.  She spoke of how we came to acquire the bookmobile and bring it to Waikoloa, how the WVA donated land to put it on and hooked it up to electricity for us, and what an asset is has become to our community.  She mentioned the many programs we have developed here to enhance literacy, such as the scholarship program. She introduced me as the President of our Friends affiliate and I was approached by many affiliates who wanted to learn all about our activities, and I have to say proudly, that everyone was duly impressed!  Even Nainoa, the Executive Director of FLH spoke of our organization as the most active in the state.  Waikoloa was the talk of the town that morning!

This year, we continued our participation in programs such as Foodland’s Give Aloha the month of September and Amazon Smile (if you log onto Amazonsmile.com and choose Friends of the Library – Waikoloa Region as your charity, a donation will be made to us), our co-sponsorship of the Waikoloa Talk Story nights, participation in the Waikoloa Christmas parade, the Walk/run for Literacy and sponsorship of our 5 member Newbery Quizbowl team.

In February, we sent two of our board members, Lynne Maclaren and Alexandra Bernstein, to the FHL Affiliates conference.  This was their first opportunity to meet the FHL staff, other affiliates and important State personnel, a time to make valuable contacts and collect information.

In April, Cathi Keene was at the Kealakehe Senior Awards Night to present two more Joseph E. Spadaro Memorial scholarships to needy students to earn a Certificate of Achievement or an Associate of Applied Science degree in the Transportation and Applied Technology or Construction Technology Department of the Community College of Hilo.  Bette, Cathi and I had a chance this month to get together with two of the 3 students and their families now being sponsored, and to get to know them a little better.  It is always so rewarding to hear how appreciative they are for this opportunity for their children and grandchildren.

While I was in Honolulu this week, I stopped in to see Luella Spadaro in her care center.  She will be 98 in February and is quite frail but still speaks her mind.  She told me of how she and Joe built their house here in Waikoloa – the family still owns it – and of her warm memories of her years here.  I showed her pictures of all of our students and told her how grateful we are to her and her family for providing the funding and how happy we are to be able to assist in the selection of the students, add a little to the money pot, and administer the scholarships – and we learn more and get better at this each year thanks to Cathi Keene’s clear vision.  We are proud of the students’ achievements – our second year student, Joel Duhaysod was named first in his class of automechanic students, and we try to help them succeed as best as we can.

We also volunteered again at the 26th Newbery Quiz Bowl, co-chaired by Paula Kamiya since it’s inception.  I was Quizmaster- and probably won’t be asked to do it again as I messed up one of the questions, and Bette, Norma Edelman, Lynne and Alexandra were also there helping out.  Our team didn’t win a prize, but had fun participating.  This April it will held on the east side at Kamehameha School and we have five students participating.  Lynne is following our team’s efforts by attending their meetings, and we plan to take over the leadership of the team for the 2016-17 Quiz Bowl since the current leader will be retiring.

In June, Stacey Aldrich, the newly appointed Hawaii State Librarian and Keith Fujio, Acting Special Assistant to the State Librarian, who has worked on our future library project for the last five years, paid a visit to Waikoloa Village at the invitation of State Representative Cindy Evans.  Ms. Aldridge, who served as state librarian of California and as deputy secretary for the Office of Commonwealth Libraries of Pennsylvania, holds a master’s degree in library science. 

After a presentation by Roger Wehrsig, WVA General Manager, on the demographics of the rapidly growing Waikoloa Region, a visit to the Bookmobile and lunch at Banji’s, FL-WR volunteers had an opportunity to describe the history of the Bookmobile and our efforts since 2010 to support community literacy and promote our future library.  Needless to say, she was very impressed with the wide range of our activities, and appreciated the value of our community’s donation of WVA land to attain a library for the Waikoloa Region.  Her visit ended with a tour of the future library site near the stables, of the village and the Waikoloa region, and a visit to Thelma Parker library.  She now understands the need of our growing region for a large library and supports our desire for a facility that can be a community gathering place.

In September, we launched two new projects.   After meeting with the Kealekehe HS librarians earlier in the year, Vivian Green established the need for e-books readers for students who don’t have their own, to be able to access the Hawaii BOE free e-library.  The schools have to pay to have access to this, but if students don’t have a device, and many of our Waikoloa students don’t, they have no way to access it.  Vivian wrote a grant, applied to the FLH and received a matching grant to provide 6 Kindles and accessories to the HS.  These were delivered in September, much to the delight of the two librarians.  Vivian will be following up on the results of this program and, if successful, we will apply for another grant to fund more of these devices.

The Waikoloa School has also expressed an interest in having us provide more e-readers to their library since they are also paying to participate in the DOE program.  Vivian will be following up on this in the next few weeks.

Also in September, after weeks of acquiring the materials and frustrating efforts at communicating with hospital personnel, Mali was successful in delivering to the NHCH Birthing Center the first 100 of the 500 board books called On the Day the You Were Born by Debra Frazier that we purchased to be given to each new baby.  The new PR person at the hospital put an article about this project in the Queen’s newsletter, as well as the WHT, and it seems that other hospitals are expressing an interest in having us provide it for them as well!  Many thanks to Mali Mueller, our VP of Programs and Activities for creating this program and her persistence in putting it into motion.

In October, in the process of soliciting a donation of a gift certificate for our first silent auction, Darien Gee got more than she hoped for.  Under the Bodhi Tree restaurant owner Abraham Go offered to name us as their organization of the month.  They provided a delicious vegan dinner outside the restaurant for 25 people that sold out so fast we didn’t even have time to organize it.  They also collected donations for us that month in the restaurant and raised over $1000 in total.  In gratitude, we helped out at their food and drink booth at a PATH race at Cindercone National Park.  We urge you try a meal there at the Mauna Lani Shops whenever you’re thinking of where to go out to eat, and be sure to thank them for helping us.

The 6th annual Walk/run for Literacy in November was the best ever.  We had over 100 runners and walkers, twice that of last year.  Our increased PR was obviously successful, and our inventory of leftover T-shirts is the lowest ever, almost none!  And Under the Bodhi Tree restaurant provided drinks and snacks for the runners.  We are the only 5K in Waikoloa and we’re already planning how we can make it better for next year.

In conjunction with the walk/run and the WOC plant sale, we had our first silent auction led by Stephanie Stearns and Darien Gee.  Sandra Martin provided us with instructions on using the Square to process all our transactions and kept us on the right track the day of the event.  The Waikoloa Sew N Sews donated a beautiful quilt and we ended up with over 50 items, all of which were bidded on and sold.  It was a huge job, but also a huge success, raising almost $5000.  And Darien left us with an organizational trail that will make our next one so much easier.  We will be planning our event for next year soon and welcome all volunteers who wish to help in planning this event.

Also in November, as if that weren’t enough, Cindy Evans hosted a Wine and Pupu fundraiser at her home for 20 people.  It was a lot of fun and a great success, raising another $650 for FL-WR.

Now we will be planning on how to spend these funds to further enhance literacy in our community members in the coming year.  If you have ideas that you would like to share, please contact one of us and let us know.  We have thrown out the ideas of a toddler reading to me program, and adult ESL class for parents of Waikoloa ESL students, and an art and writing contest for Waikoloa children to celebrate National Library Week April 10-16.  We need volunteers to accomplish any of these or other ideas so please sign up to volunteer and help out.

We were unable to participate in the Mauna Lani Charity Trees again this year because we won last year, but are looking forward to participating again in 2016.

Thanks to Bobbie and Dick Walker, their cute white convertible, and some new young volunteers who walked and handed out bookmarks, FL-WR participated again in the Waikoloa Christmas Parade.

Everyone is always asking me, “what is the status of our future library”.  Since Cindy Evans is unable to be with us tonight – she had an airline reservation to return on Wed. night but had to stay for a caucus meeting on Thursday and couldn’t get another flight until Saturday – I will bring you up to date.  The State Librarian’s Office and DAGS (Dept. of General Services) had identified the site off of Waikoloa Road at the stables as their preferred site.  In the last few months they finally started evaluating the cost of providing infrastructure (water, electricity, roads) at that site and discussing what would be required with the County Planning Dept.  The county is indicating that they will require a septic system that will accommodate all three sites, as well as a turn lane – all of which changes the expected costs of infrastructure from $1 million to almost $4 million.  Based on that, the DAGS is now discussing all options, including a traffic study on Waikoloa Road and other possible appropriate sites where the total acquisition infrastructure costs will be minimized.  In addition, Cindy is facilitating a meeting with the State Librarian’s Office staff and the Hawaii County Planning Director to discuss these issues.

Once the site is decided upon, Rep. Evans and Sen. Inouye will go to the legislature in 2017 to obtain the funds for this phase.  Funding for the design phase is already in place.

On the positive side, the State Librarian’s Office is optimistic that these issues can be resolved this year so that the DNLR can review acceptance of the site into the state’s inventory and the title can be transferred in the next year or so and we can stay on track to start building in 2018. 

Of course, we couldn’t have accomplished any of this without the support of our legislators, Governor Ige, the WVA, our dedicated Board of Directors, our members and the Waikoloa community.  I thank you all!

The 6th Annual Walk/Run for Literacy was our biggest yet!

Thank you to all the walkers & runners who participated in our 6th Annual Walk/Run for Literacy! We had an outstanding 72 pre-registrations and had people show up  from as far away as Alaska to participate.

We apologize for running out of T-Shirts, but base our numbers on the year before and did not anticipate how many would show up on race day! Next year, please pre-register early to guarantee you will receive one of our world famous commemorative T-shirts! (ok, maybe not world famous – but close enough!)

If you were a runner or walker and want to know your race results, you can go to the Walk/Run website, scroll down and click on the button that says “Click Here for the results” under the heading “2015 Walk/Run Results”.

Save the Date for our 6th Annual General Meeting

The FL-WR 6th annual general meeting will be held on Friday, January 15, 2016 in the WVA community room by the WVA offices.

More information will be forthcoming soon.

Baby’s First Book Project

Research has shown that reading aloud to children is the single most important thing you can do to prepare a child for reading and learning, and reading to infants contributes to the development of their growing brains and gives them a good start towards a lifelong love of reading and enjoyment of literature. Children whose parents read to them get a strong head start on the development of language skills and literacy. 

So Friends of the Library – Waikoloa Region (FL-WR) is pleased to announce that we are joining hands with North Hawaii Community Hospital to provide new parents in the birthing center with the baby book On the Day You Were Born by Debra Frasier. It is in a board book format that is easy for babies to hold and manipulate and stands up well to wear and tear.  We hope that both the parents and the babies enjoy it, and that it is just the start to enjoying children’s books in their homes.

Many thanks go to FL-WR Vice President of Programs and Activities, Amalia Mueller, for her creativity and persistence in organizing and putting this project into motion, as well to all our donors who help to sponsor such worthwhile literacy programs.

WVA Volunteer of the Month is FL-WR President, Ruth Bernstone

My name is Ruth Bernstone and I am currently serving as President of Friends of the Library – Waikoloa Region (FL-WR).  I guess you could call me a “professional” volunteer.  I started volunteering in high school as a candy striper at our local community hospital.  After finishing college and getting married, I continued to volunteer – taking an elderly couple, and the grandchild they were raising, and stand in line for them at the food stamp office, lobbying in the State and Federal legislatures on issues relating to children, and on professional and governmental boards.

After retiring and coming to Waikoloa, the volunteer opportunities were plentiful.  I started in the emergency room of our beautiful new North Hawaii Community Hospital, where I made several good friends and felt useful.  I initiated the Waikoloa Art center group and the Tai Chi practice group – after several moves, both groups are still active at the WVA Community room.  As a retired CPA, I was asked to serve on the WVA Finance Committee.  Helping to balance the budget for 3 years was a challenge, as I’m sure it continues to be.  During those years, a new well had to be built and the first solar panels and electric golf carts were added. 

For the last 5 years, FL-WR and our future library have been the focus of my volunteer efforts.  It’s been a pleasure to work with a wonderful group of volunteers, legislators and the WVA, whose enthusiasm, good cheer and hard work have brought so many benefits to the community – the bookmobile, scholarships, Newbery Quiz Bowl teams, Kindles for the Waikoloa School, a health fair, and progress toward the future library. Our annual Walk/run for Literacy brings together Waikoloa residents of all ages, and many members of our community contributed their thoughts and art to our self-published book “This We Believe – Waikoloa Region”.

Volunteering has so many benefits to both the volunteer and the community – making new friends, building character and confidence by helping others, having fun, building community cohesion, in addition to just plain getting needed things done.  It has been a great source of pleasure to me all my life and I encourage everyone to find their niche and passion too.

When I do have time, I love to cook and entertain our friends, take care of my veggie gardens, do needlepoint, solve crossword and Sudoku puzzles, play the piano and try to play the ukulele.

I am so blessed to live in Waikoloa Village, a town with the most generous, caring people of any place I have ever been.  We love the quiet, rural feel of the village, and its central location to Kailua, Kona, Waimea and Hilo.  Of course, it doesn’t hurt to be near the nicest beaches on the Big Island as well as the best scuba sites in the State of Hawaii!

Give Aloha Program

Please “Give Aloha” at Foodland, Sack N Save

and Foodland Farms

September brings us a great opportunity to help Friends of the Library – Waikoloa Region (FL-WR).  We are participating again this year in Give Aloha, Foodland’s Annual Community Matching Gifts Program, under the code name Bookmobile

How It Works
From September 1-30, customers are invited to make donations up to $249 (per organization, per person) to participating Hawaii non-profit organizations at checkout.  Individuals must use their Maika’i card to make a matching donation.  If you don’t have a Maika’i Card, you can sign up for one at the same time that you donate.  Foodland and the Western Union Foundation will match a portion of each donation up to $300,000.  Remember to keep the receipt for tax purposes.  Give Aloha donations are tax deductible to the full extent of the law.

How to Donate

At checkout, present your Maika’i card (or give your 10-digit number) and tell the cashier how much you would like to donate to Bookmobile.  Tell the cashier our code number: 78656. Be sure the cashier confirms our organization’s name and the amount that you are donating.

Your donation will be added to your grocery purchase total.  You may donate up to $249 per organization. (Higher amounts will not be matched.)

Any donation must be made payable to Foodland, Sack N Save or Foodland Farms. 

The name of our organization and the amount you donate will appear on your receipt. 

How Will My Donation be Matched?
Every year, the matching funds are shared with all participating organizations. The gift percentage varies and the actual matching gifts are calculated at the end of the program. Organizations will receive 100% of all customer donations given to their organization, plus their percentage of Foodland and the Western Union Foundation’s $300,000 matching gift.

Donor names will not be released to our organization.  If you would like us to know of your gift, please contact us directly or request a duplicate receipt from the cashier to provide to us so that we may properly acknowledge your gift.

Please take this opportunity to leverage your donation into more dollars for FLWR! Mahalo for your support! And check out our website at FLWRHI.org to see the activities we fund with your contributions.  We’ve added two new programs this year – Baby’s First Book and Kindles for Kealekehe High School Library.

Save the Date for the 2015 Walk/Run for Literacy

Save the  2015

Big Island students compete in 26th annual Newbery Quiz Bowl

Eighteen teams of young, Big Island book enthusiasts gathered at the Hapuna Beach Prince Hotel ballroom Thursday morning for the 26th annual Newbery Quiz Bowl.

The event attracted an audience of parents, teachers, librarians and reading advocates alike and started at about 9 a.m., lasting into the afternoon.

The teams ranged in age from fourth- to seventh-graders, who started the day relatively quiet, whispering answers back and forth. But as the final hour approached, chatter escalated and many youngsters were sitting on the edge of their seats.

The winners were announced following a tie-breaker and after a few hours of questions.

Hawaii Classical Christian Academy took first place, Hilo Public Library took second place, Lighthouse HICHE took third place, Kealakehe Elementary took fourth place and Konawaena Elementary took fifth place overall.

Throughout the day, the bright young minds were quizzed on questions coming from various Newbery Medal award winning books.

David Griff, a librarian at Hawaii Preparatory Academy lower school, said he was pleased to see so many students participate.

“It’s really amazing to see the excitement of the students, like you see right now,” he said pointing toward a group of children running.

Jahnea Ordona, a fourth-grader at Kealakehe Elementary, said she was nervous at first, but once she heard the team won she yelled in excitement.

The Newbery Quiz Bowl on the Big Island is the only one in the state. It was started by Julia Tao, former librarian of Kalanianaole Elementary and Intermediate School. Master of ceremonies this year was retired librarian Paula Kamiya.

She said students read and study certain Newbery Medal books all year and then are selected to compete in the bowl. The competition consists of multiple questions on content, theme, setting, author or book title.

Kamiya said the competition has certainly grown during the years — from nine to 10 teams to 18 this year. “It’s definitely gotten bigger,” she said.

The event is volunteer-based and winners receive various prizes donated from several Big Island businesses.

According to the Association for Library Service to Children, the Newbery Medal was named after 18th century British bookseller John Newbery. It is awarded annually by the ALSC, a division of the American Library Association, to the author of the most distinguished contribution to American literature for children.

The oldest book tested was a 1922 book titled “Story of Mankind,” by Hendrik Willem van Loon. It was the first book to be awarded the Newbery Medal.

This year’s Newbery Medal winner went to the book “The Crossover,” written by Kwame Alexander.

Schools representing West Hawaii included Hawaii Preparatory Academy lower school, Hawaii Preparatory Academy middle school, Holualoa, Kahakai, Kealakehe Elementary, Kealakehe Intermediate, Kohala Elementary, Konawaena Elementary and Waikoloa schools.

Supporters for the 26th Annual Newbery Quiz Bowl include:

  • Ace Hardware/Arts & Crafts Kamuela
  • Atlantis Submarines
  • Big Island Candies
  • Big Island Educators & Retirees
  • Body Glove Cruises
  • Cafe 100
  • Fair Wind
  • Friends of the Library Waikoloa
  • Aunty Lorna Saito
  • Kamehameha Schools
  • KBXtreme Sports
  • KTA Super Stores
  • McDonald’s of Puainako
  • Ocean Sports
  • Pohakuloa Training Area
  • Safeway Food & Drug
  • TD Food Group Pizza Hut & Taco Bell
  • Walmart


  1. FL-WR: Ethaniel Wilson, Kai Brown, Ardena Brown, Kaleah McHone, Jack Castro
  2. HCCA: Brandy Hill, Jessica Cogan, Zane Bader, Kyla Jones, Keo Aughe
  3. HPA Elem.: Krysti Chen, Lily Kassis, Bianca Brown, Parker Smith, Sydney Chin
  4. HPA Middle: Racquel McMackin, Jared Barrett, Sara Kimura, Kai Selman, Ana Henderson
  5. Hilo Public Library: Elliot Russell, Phoebe Wyatt, Keiko Wolfson, Sachi Bower, Abel Bluitt
  6. Hilo Union: Kiana Blue, Sarah Gauthier, Chansen McAllister, Gabrielle Viernes
  7. Holualoa: Chase Lurbiecki, Sita Hale, Minami Asbjornson, Cameran Vierthaler, Wehiwa Donager
  8. Kahakai: Caiya Hanks, Emma Akana, Cristina Lindenburg, Gabrielle Lindenburg, Aiden Schutte
  9. Kamehameha: Ka’ena Cordeiro, Kamakana Rodrigues, Zayden Hora, Joanne Farias
  10. Kaumana: Mikailee Palmerston, Keona Matsui, Jera Hook-DeSilva, Kaia Broomell, Grace Wyman
  11. Kealakehe Elem.:Alexandra Ruff, Tye Gray-Galligo, Alexis Wana, Jahnea Ordona
  12. Kealakehe Intermediate: Vyas Hale, Gabriella Nakamaru, Sedona Harris, Jun Lee, Machi Limas
  13. Kohala Elem.: Hailey Carvalho, Chyler Derla, David Jimenez, Joshua Quinn, Skyla Van ZanZandt
  14. Konawaena Elem.: Sophia Burgess, Kamaehu Makanui, Kianna Lim, Staci Nakamoto, Payton Kim
  15. Lighthouse HICHE: Ethan Rapoza, Charis Cook, Zachary Rapoza, Cash Anderson, Kawahena Miller
  16. St. Joseph: Forest McKinney, Keyna Wilcox, Isabelle Au, Rylee Au, Hoku Brown
  17. Waiakea Inter.: Alysa Yabe, Anavah Endriss, Lela DeVine
  18. Waikoloa: Andrew Kenney, Jona Turagavou, Jacob Turagavou, Lucas Koranda, Buddy Beeder

From West Hawaii Today

Amazon Smile Program

We recently signed up for AmazonSmile a program that allows our friends to shop at Amazon.com while diverting some of their purchase price into a donation to FL-WR!

The basics:

  • When you register at the AmazonSmile website, thereafter 0.5% of the price of your eligible AmazonSmile purchases will be donated to FL-WR.
  • AmazonSmile is the same Amazon you know. Same products, same prices, same service.
  • Just remember each time you shop to initiate your shopping or browsing at smile.amazon.com instead of the regular Amazon.com address.
  • All YOU have to do is sign up for AmazonSmile, pick Friends of the Library of Hawaii in Waikoloa, then every time you shop using AmazonSmile, weʻll get 0.5% donated to us!
  • Super easy, super simple!

For more information, please read the About AmazonSmile page.

Waikoloa Christmas Parade

We participated in the annual Waikoloa Christmas parade with not one, but two floats. We had a crew both inside and outside the vehicles, the ones walking handed out bookmarks along the route which have information about the bookmobile along with a map to the bookmobile.

Every year, we hear more and more people say they use the bookmobile and they love the resource here in the community. Our bookmobile is open 7 days a week from 9am – 4pm (5pm in the summer) and has a tremendous selection of free books for all ages. We also have two covered pergolas out front so anyone can sit and read or use our free wi-fi.