The Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i (FLH) has awarded Senator Glenn Wakai the Mahalo Award as the FLH 2018 Legislator of the Year. He represents Senate District 15 – Kalihi, Mapunapuna, Airport, Salt Lake, Aliamanu, Foster Village, Hickam, and Pearl Harbor. The award was presented at the FLH Legislative Breakfast held January 23rd at Hawai‘i State Library.
State Librarian, Stacey Aldrich, welcomed invited guests from the Hawai’i State Legislature, 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 Senator Wakai were the featured speakers, sharing successful library initiatives for 2018 and looking toward a bright future for library services in 2019.
Senator Wakai was first elected to the Hawai‘i State Senate in 2010 following eight years in the Hawai‘i State House of Representatives. He is currently the chair of the Senate’s Committee on Economic Development, Tourism, and Technology. Wakai also partners with many community organizations in his role as President of Reach Out Pacific, collecting shipping containers full of excess supplies from Hawai‘i businesses and community groups to share with our Pacific island neighbors.
Senator Wakai understands the value that public libraries bring to our communities, not only as a location to find books, but as places to access new resources and learning opportunities. For example, despite a busy schedule, Senator Wakai has supported and participated in statewide discussions for collaboration around maker spaces and public libraries to bring new opportunities to our communities. He is also constantly looking for opportunities to match up resources for communities in need, making sure that places throughout the Pacific have access to books for reading and learning.
In his home community, Senator Wakai has been a staunch supporter of the Salt Lake-Moanalua Public Library and is supporting efforts to improve library services at the branch through a $0.5 million renovation project to improve the traffic flow for library patrons, staff, and the adjacent school.
In addition to supporting Hawai‘i’s Public Library System, Senator Wakai has partnered with Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i on projects to promote literacy and libraries in the South Pacific. Through the organization, Reach Out Pacific (REPAC), Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i has sent over 100,000 books to fill the collections of public and school libraries on a number of islands including Pohnpei, Kosrae, Saipan, Yap, and Tinian.
The Mahalo Award is presented annually to a State legislator who has demonstrated exemplary support of Hawai‘i’s public libraries. Senator Wakai has been a strong voice for technology solutions at Hawai‘i’s public libraries and has partnered with Friends of the Library of Hawai‘i for the last seven years in supporting library services across the Pacific.