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By Candace Le'i

PAGO PAGO, American Samoa (April 19, 2000 - Samoa News)---"It has been a long and sometimes bumpy road in creating the new public library of American Samoa," declared Territorial Librarian Cheryl Morales during the long-awaited dedication ceremony for the Feleti Barstow Public Library.

Morales recalled the library's "bumpy" history from inception during the Coleman-Galea'i Administration (1989-93) to construction, construction during the Lutali-Tauese Administration (1993-97) and completion during the current Tauese-Togiola Administration.

Once the facility was completed, the powers-that-be discovered a serious lack of funding to staff the library and to stock its new shelves with books.

But that was soon rectified with the assistance of several individuals and local organizations, including the Rotary Club, which virtually "adopted" the library, which managed to find books to fill those empty shelves.

"But now, we are looking forward to serving the people of American Samoa for many years to come," Morales told the dedication assembly.

Insular Affairs Director Ferdinand "Danny" Aranza made a surprise appearance to bring "greetings" from Interior Secretary Bruce Babbitt in Washington, D.C.

"It's great to follow the resources from D.C. and to see them result in physical things we can see," he said.

Aranza spoke about the importance of a community-based public library. As one who was born and raised in Guam, Aranza recalled how the public library "opened up my world as someone from the islands. It is a great investment in our children."

American Samoa Community College art instructor Reggie Meredith Malala introduced the new library's Centennial Art Exhibition, which exemplifies the theme of "Patriotic Partnership".

Malala explained that the art exhibit features the work of 30 artists, all of whom are closely connected to American Samoa in one way or another.

"Their work aggregately represents the relationship between American Samoa and the United States," she pointed out. "Their patriotism is the devotion they have to these islands. This exhibit will elevate your pride in our country or leave you with a marked impression."

Other honored guests included Hinanui Hunkin who represented her husband, Congressman Faleomavaega Eni Hunkin, and Gus Hannemann, a director with the Honolulu-based Barstow Foundation, who spoke of Feleti Barstow and his love for Samoans and the Foundation his parents founded in his honor.

Pacific Horizons students performed "The Book Brigade," by Paula Thomas, with "Check it out! Check it out!" as the main theme.

The ribbon cutting was done by Maryann Tulafono who represented her husband, Lieutenant Governor Togiola Tulafono.

Library cards will be issued. Don't forget to bring some sort of photo identification, such as a driver's license or an immigration card. Parents will be required to sign for anyone under the age of 18, and parents must have a photo identification.

The Feleti Library features a large children's collection, a young adult's section, and books on tape. Educational and instructional videos are scheduled to arrive in late Spring.

Library tours will also be given. Art lovers may bask in the Centennial Art Exhibition on the second floor, featuring the work of over 30 artists, most of whom are local, but some are from off-island.

From Monday, April 24 through Friday, April 28 the Feleti Library will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Library cards will be issued, and tours will be given during this week as well. After 1 p.m., the staff will be in training.

Starting May 1st, the Feleti Library will resume normal hours. The Feleti Library will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays.

On Tuesdays and Thursdays, the Feleti Library will be open from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. And on Saturdays, the Feleti Library will be open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Items from the SAMOA NEWS, American Samoa's daily newspaper, may not be republished without permission. To contact the publisher, send e-mail to

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