Thursday, October 13, 2011

Maui Friends of the Library Big Book Sale + Jeffrey’s Library Project

Maui Friends of the Library (MFOL) is organizing a huge book sale, probably the biggest one since Borders in the Maui Marketplace (sigh) closed a few months ago…It’s probably the biggest book sale that the Friends of the Library has ever hosted on Maui. MFOL members Machele and Tom Stabler bought out the Old Lahaina Book Emporium inventory and donated most of the books to MFOL.

Oahu, where I grew up, traditionally holds a huge book sale every fall for the Oahu branch of the Friends of the Library.  People from all over Hawaii, even the West Coast or New Zealand, would line up outside the doors of the McKinley High School cafeteria, waiting for the first chance to get inside.  On Maui, having a big book sale is a big deal.

But this book sale means that Maui is down to just two bookstores from an all-time high of six: a fullsize Borders, 2 (or maybe 3) Borders Express locations, Barnes and Noble in Lahaina, the Old Lahaina Book Emporium, MFOL bookstore, and Dave and Chela’s Maui Booksellers in Wailuku.  I mourned the passing of Maui Booksellers, which hosted many wonderful nights of Maui Slam poetry contests, although they are now held at Casanova in Makawao. Now there is only Barnes and Noble in Lahaina and the MFOL bookstore in Pu’unene.  If there are or were other bookstores on Maui, let me know. 

The MFOL book presale is happening right now, for members and Maui County librarians.  By the way, if you’re not a member, it’s only $10, and you can join right at the sale, which is being held at the Kahului Shopping Center near Ah Fook’s Grocery Store.

It will continue for three consecutive weekends in October:

Thursday, October 13 Presale: 10AM – 6 PM
Friday - Sunday, October 14 – October 16: 10AM – 4 PM
Friday - Sunday, October 21 – October 23: 10AM – 4 PM
Friday - Sunday, October 28 – October 30: 10AM – 4 PM

By the way, the MFOL is a fantastic little bookstore way out in the boonies of Pu’unene by the sugar mill. It seems the most unlikely place to put a bookstore, but the sugar company leases the buildings inexpensively to nonprofits like MFOL and Community Work Day, a great place to drop off opened paint cans and pick up free house paint.  I tried to take a video of the road going to the bookstore, but it was extremely bumpy and dirty and I decided to try it again another time. Most books are only 10 cents, what a bargain, and a few are more expensive, like oh, maybe $3, or even $5 for a nicer picture book… Anything outside the front of the bookstore is free. Yes, you’ll have to wipe the covers down since they are covered in red dust from the cane fields, but free is a great price.

Can one ever have too many books? Well, I love books and I love reading them and giving them away, usually back to the MFOL bookstore, where I probably got them. Unless you live at a higher elevation, keeping books in good condition on Maui is a challenge with the humidity and all the microbes in the air that want to break down books into compost. 

Nonetheless, people still try to amass large quantities of books. One well-known Maui figure, Jeffrey Turnbull, has about 10,000 books or more. Correction: Just found out today 10/14/11, it's closer to 35,000+ books. Jeffrey is a hitchhiking book-collecting guru, who frequently volunteers at holistic events, is a regular at the MFOL bookstore, and is often seen carrying 2 large duffel bags of books.  My husband and I and most of the island has given rides to Jeffrey and his bags of books. 

Jeffrey - a person who has probably ridden in your car,
along with his books.

Since I have known Jeffrey, I have known about his book project - he has long held a vision of a wholistic library, an alternative to the state run library system. To this end, he has sought a permanent home for these books. I sometimes wonder if Jeffrey is a reincarnated librarian from the legendary Library of Alexandria, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, or perhaps a reincarnated soldier who helped burn down the Library of Alexandria and is compelled to balance his karma.  Or perhaps Jeffrey sees the possibility of a world without internet, without electricity, and a need for real books on paper.

Speculation aside, Jeffrey is urgently looking for a place to put these books by October 19th. Not Haiku, not Paia… not any low elevation.  I thought Kihei would be fine, since it’s hot and dry, but Jeffrey has his sights on upcountry, perhaps Makawao or Pukalani would work and Kula would be preferable.  With the deadline nearing, I suspect I will not see Jeffrey at the MFOL book sale, unless a miracle happens. To contact Jeffrey with ideas or a location, visit his Facebook page.  We all have dreams… As Henry David Thoreau writes, “If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.” In Jeffrey’s case, he seeks a foundation with a clean, dry building - asap.

UPDATE 10/28/11:
Jeffrey reports that he has saved most of the spiritual books... several boxes' worth, but surrendered some of the other books (meaning he no longer has them).


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