One day, the James and Abigail Campbell Library will throng with busy UH-West Oʻahu students.
For now, as the university gets up to capacity, it’s a largely unpopulated yet extremely convenient place to get some work done.
- Free computers, with free internet
- Free parking, and lots of it
- Inexpensive, tasty food options just steps away (or bring your own)
- Interesting exhibits when your brain needs new stimulation
On my most recent scouting trip I sampled all four of these delights and can report to you in-depth.
The massive first floor of the library is home to dozens of internet-connected Dell PCs with gorgeous high-def, widescreen monitors. Most of these are free for anyone to use. They have Chrome, Firefox and Internet Explorer for your web-browsing pleasure, and are stocked with the full Microsoft Office 2010 suite (Word, Excel, Powerpoint, the whole gang).
If you draft some masterful document, spreadsheet, or presentation, you can print it for 10 cents per page. You’ll need to buy a printing card from the circulation desk first. You can buy these in quantities of $1, $2, $5, or $10. Mix and match! Collect the whole set!
The printing instructions are a little complicated. I was able to figure them out on the first try, but the staff is eager to help if you hit a snag.
The second floor is the quiet study area. The computers up there are reserved for students. The various work spaces, though—lounge chairs, rows of tables—are free for anyone to use.
Books are free to browse as well. If you want to check one out, you’ll need a UH community library card. The cards are $60/year ($30/year if you’re reached age 65).
For now, the only entrance to UH-West Oʻahu is off Farrington Highway, just before Kualakaʻi Parkway (I say “for now,” because there’s already stoplights installed on Kualakaʻi for a future access point, right by the future light rail station.)
Once you turn off of Farrington, you drive about 100 yards down an access road. The large visitor parking lot is on the right. I’ve not had trouble finding a spot, when I’ve gone, but there’s also an overflow lot that spills out onto the grass on the other side of the access road. Presumably, when the paved lot is full, folks park over there.
The parking lot is about a three minute walk from the library.
Brains need fuel to make work happen. Vending machines in the library lobby offer soda, energy drink, and snack chip options.
If Doritos aren’t going to do the job, walk about 100 feet across the campus plaza to Da Spot, UH-West Oʻahu’s dining center.
Options here are plentiful and inexpensive. If you’re in a hurry, you can take a hot, pre-made item, like chicken parmesan or poached red snapper. These go for $8-$10.
Or, let them cook something for you of their plate-lunch menu. Last trip, I had Chicken Katsu Curry.
The library hosts multiple exhibits at a time, in several places throughout the building. ‘Ulu‘ulu: The Henry Ku‘ualoha Giugni Moving Image Archive of Hawai‘i, is at the back of the library, and usually hosts an exhibition related to the archive’s mission
Other exhibits cycle through- on a recent visit, you could see “A Source of Light, Constant and Never-Ending,” an exhibit about the relationship between the people of Kalaupapa (the peninsula on Molokaʻi where people with leprosy were quarantined) and Hawaiʻi’s Royal Family. The other exhibit, “Bandits & Heroes, Poets & Saints: Popular Art of the Northeast of Brazil,” showed the contributions of African culture to the culture of Brazil.
Exhibits change monthy, check E Kamakani Hou, the university’s news outlet, for what’s on now.
If none of the exhibits interest you, the library also has seating sections with books available for idle reading. The second floor has dozens and dozens of graphic novels to choose from.
One Word of Warning
The one drawback to the library for the general public is the lack of wifi or even cellular service. You’ll need a UH login to access the wireless network on your own device.
In this situation, I’ll often use my phone as a hotspot, but my network (AT&T) dropped-down to 4G—or dropped completely—while I was on campus.
This was a little frustrating, though it had one benefit—forcing me to keep writing, since I couldn’t check Twitter or sports news.