Hawaiian room expected to re-open after spring break

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Photo by Mehana Lee

The Charles Reed Bishop Learning Center Hawaiian Room is expected to re-open its doors after students and faculty return from Spring Break on March, 22, 2012, after mold was found in the books.

By Mehana Lee, news writer

The Charles Reed Bishop Learning Center’s Hawaiian room is expected to re-open when students and faculty return to school from Spring Break. No one was permitted to enter the room for about six weeks while the library staff, Ms. Ramona Ho and Ms. Victoria Ho’opi’i , and the operations team worked to get rid of mold.

The process of killing the mold was lengthy. They had to clean the carpet and all of the books and bookshelves. Ms. Ho and Ms. Hoʻopiʻi put many books in the sun to dry out the mold. Operations installed a dehumidifier in the room to get rid of the moist air, and the water level is checked often to make sure that the air remains dry.

Ms. Ho used an ultra-violet light to identify which bookshelves and books had mold on them, especially the rare Hawaiian books, which she said needed extra caution.

“Not only did I check the more rare books with an ultra-violet light, but I also checked them visually,” she said.

The Kamehameha Schools Maui learning centers have the largest open-to-the-community collection of rare Hawaiian books on the island. Some of them are from the time of the Hawaiian monarchy.

This was the first time that Kamehameha Schools Maui had to deal with mold affecting the books, but Ms. Ho said that this is not uncommon, especially with rare books. Thankfully, the school staff had the expertise to recognize and fix the problem immediately, before it became a larger problem.

Left untreated, mold will discolor and destroy books, spread to other books and cause illness in library users.