Olomana residents, Beth and Jon Davidann, are happy to serve as Stewards for a Little Free Library (littlefreelibrary.org) in their front yard (533 Ulukou Street, Kailua) with the hope it may feed a deeper sense of community while encouraging reading. All ages are welcome to stop by and pick up a free book, and if one wishes, to return the same or a different book.
Established in April 2017, this Little Free Library is named ‘Ulu Library for the neighborhood’s distinction of having every street name starting with the same three letters: U-L-U. ‘Ulu is the Hawai‘ian word for breadfruit that grows on trees in the area, and is also a Hawaiian cultural symbol of abundant nourishment.
Constructed by good friend and neighbor, Keith Zeilinger, with primarily re-used and found materials, this Little Free Library is unique in many ways. The size of the library was determined by the door of a discarded Oak kitchen cabinet. It was strengthened with splines and epoxy for outside use and the glass was swapped out with Plexiglas for safety. The library’s sides, back, and face frame were crafted from old growth Redwood lumber salvaged from neighborhood homes built in the 1960s. The three shelves were rescued from a cabinet thrown out by a neighbor, and scrap plywood and roof shingles were left-overs from previous home improvement projects. A latch was made of Teak salvaged from recent deck work on the U.S.S. Missouri. The nearby Pacific Ocean washed up some treasures Keith found and creatively incorporated into the design including a piece of driftwood (probably Milo wood) for a handle, Kukui nut for a knob, and a solid plastic parking bumper for the post that is believed to have arrived as ocean debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami. This one-of-a-kind functional work of art is built to withstand tropical winds and rains for many years to come.
The ‘Ulu Library’s whimsical exterior design incorporates ‘ulu vegetation along with a busy bookworm, equally bookish native Hawaiian birds, Ae‘o and Kolea, and a Kamehameha butterfly reading in mid-air. And no place in Hawai‘i would be complete without a pair of “rubbah slippahs” out front to welcome all with aloha.