Walking up to the Hawaii State Library on South King and Punchbowl Streets, one is surrounded with old, colonial-style buildings, a palace and a church. High rises line the horizon, never too far away. You cross the busy street with ten others and are the only to pause on the corner, to take in the shadow of the giant lacy tree on the sprawling bright green lawn and the eight considerable white columns and the three, iron and glass two-story doors. You see that someone is walking on the lawn, so you do too.
You come up to the middle door and open it. It isn't heavy. Immediately inside the space is bare. What catches your attention is the loft above you, with tables and chairs filled with people and aisles filled with books. You stay on the first floor, find your way to the young adult section, swap suggestions with the friendly librarian, check your books out, and ask where the bathroom is. On the other side, she says. You notice a large glass door opposite the one you came in. You open it and find that you are in a courtyard.
The sun abruptly, vividly pours down from the cutout circle in the ceiling, enough to light the stone planter that holds ferns and vines and other green tropical things. Three tall palm trees emerge, their fuzzy heads poking far beyond the roof. The floor is uniquely patterned. Bricks in different shades of sand and cream create a star that stretches out from the planter.
In the shadows, against the flat square walls, patrons sit at iron tables--reading, eating, or talking.
You walk around the planter, open the door, and your eyes adjust to the darkness. There is a whole other library! It wraps around and around, a child's "Chase Me!" dream.