Vicky Perry and team

The Little Library that Could!

By Lynne Farr

Mountain View Library

“We think we can, we think we can. We know we can, we KNOW we can!”
It’s this team attitude that makes Mountain View Public and School Library such a happy, happening place on the East side of the Big Island, says Bonnie “Vicky” Perry, manager since December 2017. And the “we” is not just her willing staff including Amber Rivera, Nick Groggs, Daniel Hatayama, and Janice Medieros, but the astounding number of people who volunteer when she asks for help.

On her arrival, Mrs. Perry felt the library needed a facelift. Overhearing this, one man donated professional space planning. Still other volunteers, including two staff husbands, repainted the library. It’s sparkling white now, instead of dingy beige. Choosers of accent colors included children from Mountain View Elementary School and library patrons who voted by signing the backs of bright green, orange, and turquoise paint chips.

Through Friends of the Library, Mrs. Perry bought colorful low stools that rock–kids love them–and a bright new area rug with a map of the world on it–while playing on it, children ask “Where are we?” and comment, “Oh, we’re really small!” She ordered new tables which can be arranged in various configurations, or folded and put away, allowing for wide-ranging activities.

She and her enthusiastic staff have put programs in place for everyone from ages 3 to 93.

There have been movie nights; game nights; a bonsai class; two chamber music concerts; a guitarist playing his Hawaiian compositions; an ukulele artist playing his; several story-tellers; a silk screen workshop, and a bookbinding workshop, to name a few. At the health fair, “Healthy, Wealthy, and Wise”, you could win a FitBit or fencing lessons, while learning about your blood pressure, heart rate, finances, and vaping. Upcoming will be a book club, a series of gardening and agriculture seminars, and meetings for seniors who want to write a memoir. Most are offered by volunteers.

There are theme months: April, for example, is “ology” month.

There’s been “limu-ology”, an exploration of seaweed; “star-ology”, an astronomer’s talk; “ocean-ology” with a fish talk and fish rubbings; “bug-ology” about the lives of bugs; and “bee-ology,” about raising bees and honey, again presented by volunteers.

To let Big Island folks know about these programs there’s information about “What’s Happening Monthly” e-mailed to library patrons, free advertising offered by the Hawaii Tribune Herald newspaper for community events, and handouts at various Farmer’s Markets. Mrs. Perry and her team keep the library open until 7:30 Monday and Tuesday nights so people who work can get there.

Of course, all the usual library expectations are covered: internet access; books in print and on CD. There’s music to borrow, and magazines, and CDs of films to rent. In one book-lined room there’s a long table with a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle waiting to be solved. People add pieces, knowing someone else will follow them. It’s a jigsaw-for-all.

There’s a Maker’s Space, with craft supplies and recyclables to be turned into unique projects, which especially appeals to pre-teens.

It’s part of the S.T.E.A.M. initiative: getting Hawaii’s youth interested in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics. The A is for Art. For little kids, there are construction toys like Lego and wooden blocks, and plenty of stuffed animals to play with, along with a world of books arranged at child height. Between 10 and 15 classes from the school visit the library each week. Mrs. Perry reads a fun book to them, after which they choose books to borrow. Two classes of older kids wrote and published a book using an internet program.

There’s also the stunning mural featuring a gleaming red octopus (it means he’s happy) painted and installed above a wall of books by 15 year old self-taught artist Jessica Cogan. If you choose certain books from the shelves below, you’ll find an elephant on the wall. And if you remove other books below that, you’ll find an elf. Another volunteer has been at work!

Jessica Cogan

Mountain View Public and School Library is located behind Mountain View Public School on Hwy 11 in Mountain View. It’s worth discovering. Once you visit you may want to become a regular. When you do, tell them Big Island Pulse sent you!

All photos courtesy Mountain View Public and School Library.

Mountain View Public and School Library is part of the Hawaii State Library System.

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