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Opening the doors to summer reading, historic tours

Posted on May 27, 2021 in Capitol Connection, Featured, Main
First Lady's Corner

First Lady’s Corner

Suppose a community joined hands to send free books to its youngest keiki and provided activities for the whole family.  Then a friendly neighborhood library offered more free rewards and even a chance to win airline tickets, just for reading. That’s the link between the First Lady’s ‘Ohana Readers project and the state public libraries’ Summer Reading Challenge. “These are first steps children can take in their journey to love reading,” said First Lady Dawn Amano-Ige. “We hope ‘Ohana Readers leads them to getting their library cards and a lifelong love of books.”

Mrs. Ige, as a former educator, knows the power of the written word and the importance of early learning to open new worlds to children. The ‘Ohana Readers project, launched in fall 2019, so far has enrolled about 74 percent of Moloka‘i’s children age 4-and-a-half and younger and 60 percent of Lana‘i’s keiki in the same age range. A similar program has expanded to Kekaha and Waimea, Kaua‘i. The project enrolls families in the Dolly Parton Imagination Library program that mails free, high-quality books to children from birth until they’re ready to begin kindergarten, no matter their family’s income. “We’re so pleased with the success of the programs so far,” said Mrs. Ige. “We’re encouraging more families to sign up.”

The Summer Reading Challenge runs June 1 – July 31 with prizes for participants of all ages.

The Summer Reading Challenge runs June 1 – July 31 with prizes for participants of all ages.

The Hawai‘i State Public Library System’s Summer Reading Challenge, which runs June 1 – July 31, is sponsored by Hawai‘i’s Friends of the Library, Pizza Hut and McDonald’s. For every 100 minutes read, participants of all ages can enter a drawing for four round-trip tickets from Alaska Airlines. The program is also partnering with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) to offer online video lessons and crafts to children each week. To sign up, go to “Our libraries are playing bigger roles in the community and have been a lifeline to people during the pandemic with their virtual services,” she said.

Also, just in time for summer, historic Washington Place is now open for in-person, public tours (four people per tour) every Thursday at 10 am. Go to the new website at  to learn about this home of Queen Lili‘uokalani and how to register for a tour. Larger groups are considered for alternate days or times for touring.

Read more in the June Capitol Connection newsletter.

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