You are here

Molokai Public Library

-A A +A
1937, Harry K. Stewart. 15 Ala Malama Ave.
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)
  • (Photograph by Augie Salbosa)

Molokai's public library sits on the periphery of downtown Kaunakakai amidst coconut trees. A charming sight, this single-story building is a good example of 1930s-vintage, Hawaiian-style civic architecture. The casual classicism of its symmetrical massing and centered portico, coupled with its size and setting indicate the building's civic importance, while the flow of its roofline places it under the sway of the Islands.

A Public Works Administration (PWA) project, the building owes its existence to a territorial legislative appropriation procured by George P. Cooke, who then served as president of the territorial Senate. Designed by Territorial Department of Public Works architect Stewart, it is similar to Honokaa Public Library (HA53) on the island of Hawaii.

There was no library on Molokai until 1927, when Mrs. Roland (Mary) Gay instituted a book exchange at her home in Kauluwai. Two years later, the American Sugar Company donated a small building near the beach and it was made a branch of the Maui County Free Library. That building still stands today, although relocated and remodeled as a private residence at 25 Ing Road. Initially, the present building was only opened for a few hours each week. Despite this, its forty-five-hundred-volume collection was in high demand. Today the library houses a collection of twenty-six thousand books and remains the sole public library on Molokai.

Writing Credits

Don J. Hibbard


What's Nearby


Don J. Hibbard, "Molokai Public Library", [Kaunakakai, Hawaii], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Hawaii

Buildings of Hawaii, Don J. Hibbard. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2011, 230-230.

If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.

SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.