A Love for Books, A Love for People


There was never a time when I did not love books.
-Holly Gates, Haiku School Librarian

The 21st Annual Haiku Ho’olaule’a & Flower Festival is just around the corner, and one of the fun recycle programs is the Haiku Book Swap. This swap is great for many reasons:

1. Go Green – donate your used books to help our School Library and for every ten books donated, you will receive a “Book Buck” to spend on a book at the Book Swap.

2. Declutter – get your Spring cleaning done early with downsizing your library.

3. You’ll get to meet the school’s librarian, Holly Gates!

Library-Haiku-Holly-Gates- Island Gypsy Hawaii

Holly has lived on the Hawaiian islands for 32 years, spending the last four years here in Maui. But long before her journey to Hawaii, she found herself immersed in books for as long as she can remember. “There was never a time when I did not love books,” said Holly in a recent visit with Jennifer Poppy. “I taught myself how to read by age three, and my daughter learned by three years old as well.”

For Holly, books are more than just paper and ink, they are an escape, a type of sanctuary, and she finds it extremely important to carefully select her reading materials, as she feels what one reads can be felt. She loves keeping positive, life-giving books around, but rarely re-reads a book. “Once it’s done, it’s done.”

For parents of Haiku Elementary students, her philosophy on the purpose of the library is a great one. Holly desires to have the library be a safe haven for children…a place for them to take a break and breathe, rest and be renewed as they enjoy reading a book. She’s created a cozy spot for Haiku students to enjoy during their lunch hour or after school. Holly also finds keeping the library nice and neat elevates the children’s interest in books because it’s a calming place, no clutter.

One of the most rewarding things Holly has experienced as a librarian is being able to help others in life. She’s helped many children (young and old) learn how to read. Beyond helping children learn how to read, she has even helped reunite a son with his father by encouraging him to read a book about one of their ancestors. The next time you’re at Haiku School, you should definitely ask Holly Gates about this amazing story…all through the connection of books and people.

There are many ways you can help the Haiku School Library:

1. As mentioned earlier, drop off any unwanted books to the library during school hours for the Haiku Ho’olaule”a & Flower Festival Book Swap. (You receive 1 book buck for every 10 books donated) All of the money raised through the Book Swap helps to order new books for the school library. Last year the Book Swap raised $500…this year’s goal is $1000.

2. Volunteer in the library to help put books away.

3. If you are extremely detail-oriented and have basic sewing skills or enjoy crafting, Holly will teach you how to mend worn books. (Holly mends many books, which thankfully saves the school money with her resourcefulness).

4. Help write a grant proposal for a small updates to the library (paint, decor, etc.).

5. Donate new bean bags for the library’s “cozy corner.”

Haiku Elementary is fortunate to have such a wonderful library, with a certified librarian, where other public schools may not have one at all. Mahalo to all who make the library the special place that it is for the keiki of our community!


Students Bryan, Gavin and Gabriel enjoying the library.
(Photo: Jennifer Poppy of Island Gypsy Hawaii)

Note: All types of books accepted.  Please drop off your books to the Library during school hours.  For every 10 books you donate, you will receive a “Book Buck” to spend on a book at the Book Swap.   Mahalo to our Book Swap team – Librarian Holly Gates and parent Tully Kramer!

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