Current and former denizens of Cooke Library, representing all departments, gathered on Friday afternoon, April 28, for a “Last Library Look,” organized by archivist, Kylee Mar and Mari-Jo Hirata. Happily greeting each other, eager guests shared hugs and memories of countless hours spent in Cooke as staff – and in some cases as students – representing more than 200 years of service. Many had not seen each other for several years, and their aloha for former friends and colleagues, and for Cooke Library itself, was heartfelt.
An especially honored guest was Joyce Salmon, featured in the Spring 2023 Bulletin, who began working at Cooke as the reference librarian in 1965 when it opened and has continued to volunteer in the Archives to this day, returning once a week to help with research since her retirement in 2003.
Kylee delivered welcoming remarks, briefly recounted the history of the building and shared the plans for the Academy Learning Commons (ALC). The new video “flythrough” of the ALC designs were well-received. Then the guests moved into the Morita-Sony Room and were invited to inscribe thoughts, memories and well-wishes on the white-papered wall which will become a mural of memories of Cooke Library by the end of the year.
Researcher Lynne Gartley ’74 Meyer wrote: “My first (of many) memories of Cooke Library: Touring it as a 3rd grader in 1965. The building was brand new and so big!” Laurie Ehrman ’67 added, “When Cooke Library opened in 1965, I was a sophomore here, so I’m extra lucky in having wonderful memories of it after many many years.” Most signed their names and noted their years of service, and several remarked on “awesome co-workers” and “happy memories” through years of working and researching among the stacks and in IT, Punavision, Communications, Professional Development and more.
Looking to the future, Luciana ’30, attending with her parents wrote, “I am so excited for the food design labs!” And Cathy Kawano-Ching who had been an integral part of the ALC planning process invoked the past and future with, “Dreams and schemes do come true.”
Guests moved outdoors to the lanai for iced tea and cafeteria classics, chatting in groups and finally settling at the picnic tables outside Alexander Hall. And as the sun began to angle in the west, they talked and talked, warmly sharing stories and as with most reunions, reluctant to part. Judy Knierum summed up the mood of the evening in her message on the wall: “Cooke Library was my home away from home. My co-workers were more like family.”