Libraries I Have Known: Mililani Public Library

February 27, 2010 at 6:20 am (Libraries I Have Known, Worth a Thousand Words) (, , )

I told you to expect it! And here I am, catching up at long last!

Pretty much the first libraries I remember are the Mililani Public Library and the Mililani Waena Elementary School Library. I attended Mililani Waena from mid-kindergarten till fifth grade, when the district lines moved and I was unceremoniously transferred to Mililani Uka. Quelle horreur! (I did not manage to get any school library pix as they were closed pretty much all of the days we were touring Sites of Schatzi’s Past.) The Mililani Library is just a block (a very BIG block that happens to be the high school) away from Mililani Waena. Originally, there was hardly anything around it, but when I was little, they built a shopping center with Star Market and Longs, and even a theater. Now there’s a Walmart and a Home or Office Depot right there, too. Crazy.

a bit unprepossessing from outside

Right off the bat, once I started reading, I started kicking it at this library. Mom had to limit me to seven books per trip after several overdue book debacles; before that, I often needed a bag to carry everything away. After school, I often walked to the library. Some afternoons, they had movies (nearly always of a late Seventies vintage) playing in a quiet room to the right of the entrance, past the restrooms (now this is a reading room, and apparently where periodicals are kept). When Mom got off work at the hospital, she would stop at the library to pick me (and sometimes a friend) up. On the way home in the car, I would read the most interesting book from my pile, and when we got home, would often remain in the car reading it either until a) I finished it, b) it was too dark to read, or c) Mom called me in.

The library must have been open a lot later then, because I know she couldn’t pick me up sometimes till five or six. Budget cuts?

the Children's Room!

This is where I spent most of my time. That shelf back against the wall is the Picture Books section. When I was little, it was only three shelves high. I was particularly fond of things like A Dark, Dark Tale (SO CUTE!), Frog and Toad books, and and I once lost a book for learning Spanish (i was convinced I could teach myself Spanish. I still don’t know A SINGLE WORD).

That near bookshelf that’s angling to the right was all fiction. Patricia Coombs’ Dorrie the Little Witch books (!!!) were all on the near bottom shelf, with Beverly Cleary’s books right above (I recall being confused by Fifteen and Sister of the Bride being there with the Ramona books) and Barthe Declements not far away. This is where I found The Borrowers at my mother’s suggestion, and a lot of other favorites. It was also home to guilty pleasures (even at that age) like BSC and the Sleepover Friends.

the good stuff

See that shelf end closest to us? The one with the Princess and the Frog poster? That was The Shelf. On the side facing right, right at that very end there, was the Occult section. (Yes, the Children’s Room had an Occult section.) That’s where I found all the books I needed about vampires, werewolves, ghosts, and whatnot, which I summarily devoured. Fun fact: I was afraid of the Dark and What Was in My Closet, and always had to sleep with a light on. Hmmm. I think Witches’ Children (which I will be reviewing shortly) was actually shelved here, though it was fiction.) Past Occult was another favorite section: Folk and Fairy Tales. I checked out all the Colored Fairy Books Mililani had, and requested others from all over the state (much like Laura, I was in search of the ever-elusive Olive Fairy Book for years). There was also a variety of entries in the Stories My _____ Grandmother Told Me series available, and plenty of Grimm.

That back wall on the right was were all the biographies were, and there’s also a shelf we can’t quite see, between the back wall and the shelf to the right of center. That shelf was were all the books on animals and sports were. I was so convinced that she might get a horse one day that I regularly checked out books on horseback riding and horse care, just so that I’d be prepared for that momentous day when my gallant steed arrived. Never happened. I also attempted to teach myself several martial arts, and so would check out books on karate, judo, aikido, and taekwondo. (I may have experienced some envy of classmates who got to take such classes.) It never took.

sneaking into the grown-up side!

To the left is Circulation (don’t look at me! I swear, I will pay those fines!), directly ahead is Reference, and to the right past that table and around the corner is the YA section. There were actually several YOUNG ADULTS there when we visited, and I didn’t want them to feel self-conscious because some crazy haole woman was taking pictures of them in their natural habitat. I was feeling pretty self-conscious myself. The YA section is so hug now cmpared to what it was, taking up a full corner. When I was little, it was like, a table and maybe four of those spinning wire racks, stuffed with crap like the Caitlin books and Bruce and Carol Hart’s entire oeuvre, with a few classics like The Scarlet Letter mixed in (which I read entirely too young, probably because of its titillating proximity to Caitlin–and because I was a precocious snob). I don’t think it was very well organized, because if I recall correctly, SVH books where over in the Children’s Room.

When I was in fourth grade, the last year I went to school so close to the library, I also spent some time hanging out in the Adult section there. My mother introduced me to Stephen King with The Eyes of the Dragon–which I love to this very day–and I was intrigued. I may have read some Koontz here, too, because I know we still lived at Kaholo Hale when I read Lightning. I have a very distinct memory of riding int he car with my other on our way to the library. I was holding some books to be returned on my lap and curious, I started reading one. When I asked my mother, “What does ‘decapitated’ mean?” she said, “What are you–? Give me that!” and snatched The Servants of Twilight away. I was eight, and decapitated dogs were decidedly a bad thing. I also became obsessed with Miss Manners, and would go over tot he adult room to check out etiquette books.

Sorry the pictures sucked. I felt a little like a weirdo taking random pictures of a library like that, so I rushed it. And I didn’t want to keep Eli waiting too long while I wandered about in a daze. But it was important to me, too, to revisit that library where I spent SO MUCH time when I was little. Probably weeks of my life, in fact. Don’t worry, that was also the longest of these little memoir episodes, because of the fact that I spent so much time there. And since you’ve been so patient, here’s a little treat:

Waimea Bay

sunset at Waimea Bay

After visiting Mililani, we drove out to Waimea Bay for sunset. The white tower in the first picture is the Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church, where I was baptized.

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1 Comment

  1. LDP said,

    No need to apologize for length when every bit of it was entertaining. I’m a sucker for nostalgia and reading this reminds me of my trips to the local libraries when I was little. I can’t go back to my first library, as it was closed, turned into a strip club, then a string of different antique shops and now, I think, is a church for people that speak spanish. But I can and you make me want to go back to the second library from my youth, Fulton Branch. That’s the one where I really went crazy. One whole corner of the building was for children, fiction along the walls I believe and nonfiction in the shelves that sat in the middle of the floor there. My first visit, I brought home a little over 30 books on astronomy, dinosaurs and the occult. They had that section, too!

    I’d go there today, if I wouldn’t have to walk through a foot of snow.

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