In 2010, the The Rotary Club of Lahaina “adopted” the 55-year-old Lahaina Public Library that was badly in need of a facelift, purchasing $5,000 in new furniture with proceeds from its first Savor the Sunset Benefit to support the library. Club members concluded the library needed much more since the State of Hawaii during a budget crunch did not have refurnishing funds. Two Savor the Sunsets later attended by a combined 600 people , the club raised $30,00, secured grants from foundations, and secured $155,000 worth of free contracting services from 15 local contractors.
Volunteer Rick Cowan of Archipelago Maui, a design firm, did a redesign. The Maui Friends of the Library joined in as an advisor and supporter. The Hawaii State LIbrary System bought into the plans.
Rotary Presidents Carmen Karady, a key person in the launch of the effort, Eric van Ketel and Liz May have strongly backed the the $280,000 facelift project, largest in the clubʻs history. Rotarian and Maui Friends of the Library Board member Sara Foley assisted by Cowan and others lined up contractors, secured all necessary permits (a time-consuming complicated task) and finally has worked closely with 15 contractors to schedule the work.
The effort is also supported by a 15 member Rotary Committee. The library closed August 11, 2012 and was completely emptied of 35,000 books and all interior elements in just 4.5 days. More than 100 volunteers have been involved to date. The facelift is expected to be completed in October, 2012 Many believe it could be a model for other communities who have government agencies who cannot afford similar needed upgrades.