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Henderson Libraries offers events on Hawaiian culture, expands book collection

Henderson Libraries is planning to bring a little bit of Hawaiian culture and tradition to Henderson by expanding its book collection and offering several events that focus on Hawaii.

Stephen Platt, Green Valley Library branch manager, said Nevada has one of the largest populations of native Hawaiians on the mainland United States.

According to the 2010 U.S. Census, 6,784 native Hawaiians and other Pacific Islanders live in Las Vegas.

Despite having that population, Platt noticed that the district didn't have much to offer on Hawaiian literature. He reached out to members of the Hawaiian community to get insight on the issue.

"That's when I discovered it was very hard for the Hawaiian community to get information as far as books locally," Platt said. "People would either have to bring back books from Hawaii or use the Internet to find stuff online. We felt it was important to have materials available."

Platt thought the current generation of Hawaiian children being raised in Henderson might want access to that information .

"That way they can learn about their heritage," Platt said.

After having several meetings with people from the Hawaiian community, Platt said he decided to search for a grant that would help the district expand its collection to offer books on Hawaiian history, culture and customs .

After receiving a $25,000 grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services, in conjunction with the Nevada State Library, Henderson Libraries decided to create a collection specifically catering to Hawaiian culture.

Platt received word that the district received the grant in June 2011 and started purchasing items in September.

About 1,500 books were purchased.

Events, which also were funded through the grant, have been scheduled as a way to introduce the community to the collection.

"The events are more of an awareness campaign," Platt said.

To plan this event, Platt gathered leaders of the Hawaiian community to discuss ideas.

Platt and his team decided to focus on the most important parts of the culture including the monarchy, history, romanticism and religion.

The events also are slated to feature information about chanting, hula dancing and the ukulele.

Henderson Libraries was slated to kick off events Jan. 28 at the Green Valley Library, 2797 N. Green Valley Parkway, with an event showcasing the history of the Hawaiian monarchy .

From noon to 5 p.m. Feb. 11, the Gibson Library, 100 W. Lake Mead Parkway, is scheduled to host "Ho'oipoio'o Hawaii: The Romance of Hawaii," which talks about the paintings, sculptures, poetry, songs and dances of the culture.

An event that talks about the polytheistic religion is slated to take place from noon to 4 p.m. Feb. 25 at the Galleria Library inside the Galleria at Sunset mall, 1300 W. Sunset Road.

The event, called "The Spirit of Hawaii: Hawaii's Religion, Gods and Goddesses," is supposed to be an interactive display featuring a historical lecture with stories from traditional Hawaiian practitioners. The event is also expected to showcase ancient and contemporary hula.

"When people think about hula, they only think of it as the dance," Platt said. "It is a very religious experience, too."

Henderson Libraries also plans to have an event called "Hawaii is Home" from 1 to 5 p.m. March 24 at the Paseo Verde Library, 280 S. Green Valley Parkway. The event is slated to discuss the blend of cultures in Hawaii and its impact on culture and tradition.

These events are free and open to the public.

People also can register for other Hawaiian culture programming by visiting or calling 207-4274.

Contact Henderson/Anthem View reporter Michael Lyle at or 387-5201.