The sights and sounds of Hawaii fill the Oak Bluffs library

Oak Bluffs' adult and technology services librarian Allyson Malik entertains the guests with her best Hula-Hooping skills. – Photo by Larisa Stinga

It was hula time for the second year in a row at the Oak Bluffs Public Library on Saturday, where more than 150 people came for a Hawaiian vacation–themed evening of food, fun, and music.

Staff members greeted guests with a cheery “Aloha” and distributed flower leis, and people walked through a curtain of real tiny bubbles, as Hawaiian music filled the air.

A life-size replica of Elvis from the movie Blue Hawaii was the centerpiece of a custom photo booth that guests could step into and have their picture taken. Photographer Ralph Stewart, clad in a spectacular Elvis Hawaiian shirt, took photos of smiling faux vacationers. (The photos will be posted on the library’s Facebook page at

The delicious aroma of pulled pork sandwiches from Slice of Life restaurant in Oak Bluffs, as well as the live music of the Princess Poo-Poo-Ly Ukulele Band, led by Martha Childs, filled the air. A choice of homemade desserts tempted diners to indulge in everything from the sublime — El Edward’s white chocolate macadamia cookies — to the ridiculous — bright blue Jell-O “not” shots with a red Swedish fish bobbing in the center. Volunteer Ethel Tyson served dinner alongside Jennifer Smyth from Slice of Life.

Luau games on the library lawn rounded out the evening. In the Tacky Tourist Relay Race, teams vied for bragging rights as they dressed up in crazy vacation attire, had their pictures taken, and ran back to the starting line. Many teams devised clever ways to cheat, which added to the fun and excitement.

The water balloon toss was the right combination of action and finesse, usually ending with someone getting wet, and a Tiki beanbag game and hula hoops kept the fun going too.

For some guests, it was their first visit to the Oak Bluffs Public Library. Making new friends is one reason to have such an event, according to Library Director Sondra Murphy, whose fifth anniversary was celebrated at the event: “We love to have fun with our regular patrons. The Luau is a way to ‘thank you’ for using our library. The entire staff worked hard to make this party a success. I’m proud of what we do every day.” In a brief presentation, Peter Palches, president of the Library Board of Trustees, honored Ms. Murphy with a token of appreciation to mark her anniversary.

After the Hawaiian transformation, the library was returned to normal, preparing it for business as usual at a very unusual Island library.

Story provided by Anna Marie D’Addarie, program coordinator at the Oak Bluffs Public Library.