Monday, November 16, 2015

Building community at Atherton Library

As Operations Manager for Atherton Library, An Hollowell oversees the windward campus library facilities and services. In addition to housing books and periodicals largely comprised of a science and nursing collection and the university’s Hawaiiana collection, the library is equipped with study spaces and PC work stations. Hollowell is responsible for staff scheduling, front desk training and the coordination of maintenance work.

One might say Hollowell’s path to working in the library at Hawai‘i Pacific University was happenstance. She was born in Hawai‘i and raised in Hawai‘i and North Carolina, where she completed high school and college. While at East Carolina University, one of her part-time jobs was student supervisor of the Library’s Periodical Services unit.

Upon graduating from college, she came “home” to Hawai‘i for a visit and learned of a library assistant position in the Periodical Services unit for the HPU Libraries. Since she had Periodical Services experience, she decided to apply. She was offered the job, joining HPU in 2004.

Hollowell, whose smiling face is the one you will often see at the library’s front desk, finds great satisfaction interacting with students. If students simply need to unload about their stresses, she will be a good listener.

Over the years, she has befriended students from Vietnam, Sri Lanka, Malawi, Oregon, Texas, and other places, continuing to stay connected with many of these alumni. A couple weeks ago, she caught up with a former student worker from Canada and was pleased to know she is doing well in the nursing field in Hawai‘i.

“Because I know what it’s like to be away from home and to miss your parents, I like mentoring the international and mainland students,” said Hollowell. “One thing I tell my dorm students is…they should spend the first year or two there, because that’s where you will make friends.”

In the effort to get HPU students more involved with their campus community, Hollowell and library staff members Nori Leong and Julie Tomomitsu started the Share Seeds project at HPU. They learned of the project — developed by Eating in Public — at an April community libraries event.

“We thought it was a fun community project for our students — particularly at Hawaii Loa campus with our science students and a few wanting to bring back the (campus) garden — so we decided to bring the project over to Atherton Library,” said Hollowell.

Students harvest non-GMO seeds, package them at the library with recycled envelopes or old magazine pages, and if they like, are welcome to take a few packs of seeds others have left. The project slogan is “take, leave, whatevas.”

This month, as an extension of the Share Seeds project and the intent to showcase the power of community — within the university and externally — the staff launched a “Shared Opportunities” display highlighting the areas of nursing, health and social work. There are books on giving, working with the elderly and chronically ill, newspapers, job and home ads and a list of random acts of kindness.

“(As part of ‘Shared Opportunities’ and the slogan ‘take, leave, whatevas,’) we put out a basket containing non-perishable food and personal care items,” said Hollowell.

The next time you stop into Atherton Library say “hi” to Hollowell. She will greet you with a smile and make you feel welcome.  

Information on HPU Libraries here.
The HPU Libraries staff at the “Superhero Health & Wellness Fair,” held on April 6, 2015, and sponsored by the HPU Department of Public Health in celebration of National Public Health Week. Front row: Lisa Barroga, Access Services Library Assistant, Meader Library; Kalekona Kingsbury, Head of Access Services, Meader Library; Cheryl Urasaki, Electronic Resources Librarian, Meader Library; Back row: Elizabeth Torres, Librarian, Meader Library; An Hollowell, Operations Manager, Atherton Library.

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