Used-book store blessed

Eight months after opening, the Maui Friends of the Library held a blessing for its used-book store Saturday afternoon at the Queen Ka’ahumanu Center.

The blessing was in commemoration of the queen, whose birthday was actually Sunday.

“It’s taken us awhile,” said group President Dorothy Tolliver. “But it’s a labor of love. . . . Since there isn’t a bookstore in the mall anymore, everyone that comes in thanks us.”

Dozens of people, including Maui County Mayor Alan Arakawa, attended the blessing that included a musical piece by the Isle of Maui Pipe Band.

“It’s really a wonderful place to browse,” said volunteer Richard Buckley, who also is the drum major for the band.

The bookstore has about 14,000 books with nearly everything in the store, including the shelves and furniture, donated by local people and businesses.

Although it is almost impossible for volunteers to track inventory, considering the wide variety of books that cycle in and out of the store, Buckley said that the place provides excitement for customers and him.

“People come in very excited to have a place to find a book they’re looking for,” he said. “That’s the rewarding thing, when you can help someone find something they’ve been searching for forever.”

The store also receives surprises of its own. It dedicates an entire section to autographed books, which includes one that was signed by cartoonist Charles M. Schulz of Peanuts fame.

Darlene Bowers, one of the 35 volunteers with the group, said that the work of cleaning, pricing and placing books on shelves has led to more than 24,000 books being sold since the bookstore’s opening in July. Volunteers put in extra work Friday night though, staying until 11:30 p.m. to clean the floor and shelves to spiffy things up.

“We enjoy the camaraderie,” said Buckley. “People know one another and believe in one another. . . . Anything we can do to promote reading, we try to do.”

All proceeds from the store go to support Maui County’s eight public libraries. Buckley said that the libraries give the group a wish list, and the Friends try to accommodate as many requests as they can.

Remaining money is used to purchase other items, such as the rarer Hawaiiana books, to sell at its stores, he said.

The Friends have two other used-book stores – its original store in Puunene and the other in the Wharf Cinema Center on the west side.

* Chris Sugidono can be reached at