Back Row: Alan Yamamoto, FLH Board of Directors, Kathy Fay, FLH Board of Directors, Jane Dickson, FLH Board of Directors, Marlene Booth, FLH Board of Directors, Stephanie Rezents, FLH Legislative Committee, Nainoa Mau FLH Executive Director
Front Row: Dawn Amano-Ige, First Lady of the State of Hawai‘i, Stacey Aldrich, State Librarian, Representative Della Au Belatti, State Representative and FLH Legsilator of the Year 2016, Wendy Maxwell, Makiki Community Library Board President, Susan Li, FLH Board of Directors, Rebecca Nadler, FLH Board of Directors
Photo courtesy of Paul Mark, Information Specialist III – HSPLS
The Friends of the Library of Hawai'i (FLH) has awarded Representative Della Au Belatti, who represents House District 24 (Makiki, Tantalus, Papakolea, McCully, Pawaa, Manoa), with the Mahalo Award as the FLH 2016 Legislator of the Year. The award was presented at the FLH Legislative Breakfast held on January 10th at Washington Place in Honolulu.
First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige welcomed invited guests from the Hawai’i State Legislature, Board of Education, Hawai’i State Public Library System, and Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i Affiliates and volunteers. FLH President Lynnae Lee, State Librarian Stacey Aldrich, and Representative Della Au Belatti were the featured speakers, sharing successful library initiatives for 2016 and looking toward a bright future for library services in 2017.
The Mahalo Award is presented annually to a state legislator who has demonstrated exemplary support of Hawai‘i’s public libraries during the prior legislative session. Representative Belatti has been a staunch supporter of the only community-run library in the state: the Makiki Community Library at Makiki District Park. Representative Belatti and the Hawai‘i State Public Library System have worked closely in recent years to incorporate the Makiki Community Library into the state public library system. This effort is gaining momentum and we look forward to making the Makiki Public Library branch as the 52nd Hawai‘i public library.
The Makiki Community Library originally opened its doors in September of 1976 due in large part to the work of Mayor Frank F. Fasi. Since that time, it has continued to be an asset to the community, providing not only books for adults and children, but adult computer classes and holiday activities as well. Representative Belatti serves on the board of the Makiki Community Library and continues to work toward the now 40-plus year dream of having a state library within this urban community. She follows in a long line of elected officials who have recognized the great need for a public library in one of the most densely populated areas in the state.
Representative Belatti was elected in 2007 and has served as the Chair of the House Committee on Health since 2012. She is also a member of the Committee on Human Services and the Committee on the Judiciary. She is a graduate of Princeton University and the William S. Richardson School of Law and is a full-time practicing attorney.
The Legislative Breakfast provides a unique opportunity for supporters of the Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i and Hawai‘i State Public Library staff to discuss the needs and concerns of Hawai’i’s public libraries with their legislators and to thank them for their support.