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After statehood in 1959, the Hawaii State Legislature created the Hawaii State Public Library System (HSPLS), the only statewide system in the United States, with the Hawaii State Library building as its flagship branch. The Hawaii State Public Library System is an independent State agency that reports directly to the Board of Education. The duties of the board of education are described in Hawaii Revised Statue §312-1. The State Librarian is appointed by the Board of Education and responsible for the operation, planning, programming, and budgeting of all public libraries within the State.
The Hawaii State Public Library System depends on (4) sources of funding:
State General Funds are allocated each year by the Legislature and Governor. This funding is used for staffing, equipment, utilities, security, and other basic operations.
State CIP Funds are used to implement facility projects that relate to the health and safety of the community, and also new building projects. Funding is also used to support ADA, energy efficiency, retro-commissioning building requirements
Special Funds are made up of HSPLS fines and fees. The funding is used to purchase collections for all public libraries.
LSTA is funding that is provided through the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services to every state through a formula. Hawaii receives about $1.2 million each year. The funding is used for technology, internet connectivity, and digital resources to ensure access to resources on all six (6) islands is equitable.
HSPLS also depends on the immense commitment and support of volunteers who dedicate their time and resources to raise funding to support library programs and services across Hawaii. The Friends of the Library of Hawaii (FLH) was established in 1879 and “is a nonprofit organization whose primary objective is to maintain free public libraries in the State of Hawaii, to promote extension of library services throughout the State of Hawaii and to increase the facilities of the public library system of Hawaii by securing materials beyond the command of the ordinary library budget. Other objectives are to focus attention on libraries and to encourage and accept, by bequest or gift, donations of books, manuscripts, money, and other appropriate material that can enrich the cultural opportunities available to the people of Hawaii. The Friends of the Library of Hawaii is a nonprofit, tax-exempt organization approved by Section 501(C)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code.”
Additionally, there are local friends’ groups that support individual branches. They may be an affiliate of FLH or their own 501c(3).