Thursday, February 26, 2015

Here's one for the community clubhouse

The truth is libraries are raucous clubhouses for free speech, controversy and community.

–Paula Poundstone

Of late, many library members and Facebook fans have been receiving requests for letters of support for the John Trigg Ester Library's capital proposal to the legislature. As members, you all have a wide variety of options to choose from when it comes to opinion or action. You can even ignore the project, focus on other things in your lives, etc. But what is a library truly worth? And why should you support building a "raucous clubhouse"?

Well, here's what some notable people have thought about the value of libraries:
With a library you are free, not confined by temporary political climates. It is the most democratic of institutions because no one—but no one at all—can tell you what to read and when and how.
—Doris Lessing
Cutting libraries during a recession is like cutting hospitals during a plague.
—Eleanor Crumblehulme 
What a school thinks about its library is a measure of what it feels about education.
—Harold Howe  
What is more important in a library than anything else—than everything else—is the fact that it exists.
—Archibald MacLeish

As board members, it is our role to bring the vision of the Ester library to reality in a timely and fiscally responsible fashion. Even if our attempt to gain an appropriation from the Alaska Legislature fails this year, the support we gain will bolster our attempt next year. The JTEL can provide a strong example of thrifty, far-seeing northern-appropriate public construction of the kind that should be supported by the legislature and business. And letters can always be aimed and used for other proposals that we will be crafting and sending to other funders. So please—write a letter of support. Thank you.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Once and future timeline

Looking at our capital fundraising and our new library-related construction, this timeline extends into the past as far back as 2012 and as far into the future as 2017. Its midpoint is February 6, 2015 (although it isn't exactly that precise on this graph), because that was the due date for the proposals to the Alaska Legislature (5 pm, to be exact). This gives you an idea of the variety of events and construction ahead of us!

We are looking for members for the Construction Committee, the Fundraising Committee, and help with the upcoming fundraisers. The Friends of the Ester Library can use your help, too—even a little bit makes a big difference!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Love that Library!

Share the Love!
Each year our Pick.Click.Give. campaign is dedicated to a specific aspect of the John Trigg Ester Library's work. We are still working on gaining the funds to construct our building, but we have enough to do the sitework, and we are hoping that you will sweeten the pot and help us earn more matching funds. This summer, the grand transformation begins!

Then maybe all those books can come out of storage and onto shelves—where people can take them off and read them!

Sunday, February 8, 2015

Seedy volunteers wanted!

It's the beginning of February, and that's not too soon to think of mud and sprouting seeds! The Master Gardeners had a seed swap last week, so it's time to start thinking about getting the seed library's organized for this year. Unfortunately, the director of the GEB program will be out of town for the middle to latter end of February, and won't be able to schedule any then.

But wait, all is not lost! You, too can volunteer to organize a seed swap! It's easy, it's fun, and best of all, you end up with lots of seeds! The JTEL can provide the space a (it will need to be organized and overseen by a library member), or you can do it in your neck of the woods. Instructions are here. Different groups do it differently, and the JTEL has references that describe other methods. We've focused on one of the simplest.

Please contact the GEB director, Deirdre Helfferich, before February 15, at 479-3368.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

New board member, progress on the catalog, and plans for the summer

We have several events coming up in February through May (more on that soon), and we now have one alternate board member, Jasmine Stokes, to help when the regular board members are out of town or unable to make it. She is working with Varpu Lotvonen on organizing our collections. Jasmine has long been associated with Angry Young & Poor and various theatre efforts in town, and has strong organizational skills (she's also an excellent costumer!). She attended her first meeting in January, but assisted the library with the LiBerry Music Festival as stage manager.

The JTEL catalog is now up to 3,479 titles in our collections, and more being added rapidly. The advantage of LibraryThing, although it doesn't do much that a full-scale library might need, is that it is very very simple, and adequate for our current needs. Board member Phil Rulon is looking into open-source software that might serve as full-function library software, such as Evergreen ILS. However, this software, and any such full-service open-source software, may be beyond us at for several years, as described in this article in Library Journal.

Our upcoming construction plans include 1) making the interior of the Clausen Cabin useable; 2) adding a ramp and arctic entries; and 3) fixing the front railing of the cabin.

We also will be doing sitework on the library site; if we get sufficient funds from the legislature and other sources, we can tackle the foundation and shell as well as the construction survey and groundwork—but we need your help. How? Simple! write to your legislator in support of the JTEL's capital request to construct a passive house community library and cc us a copy of your letter. More information is available here.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

New board, new charge

The annual meeting was a bit disorganized and began with a near-death experience for one board member, who is violently allergic to nuts (walnut caramel raspberry ice cream, even home-made, was NOT good for her health, and resulted in the absence of two board members and, as you can imagine, some consternation at the beginning of the meeting).

After things got going, sans agenda and the two willing but otherwise occupied members (one ill, one helping), we got down to the business of reviewing the year and presenting the annual report. The Annual Report was simplified somewhat from last year, offering:

  • the President's Report
  • Friends of the John Trigg Ester Library
  • Financial Report (to be corrected)
  • Fundraising & Grants Report
  • Program Overview for FY 2014
  • Acknowledgement & Thanks

The membership enthusiastically approved the proposed Friends. The board was charged with seeking professional assistance with bookkeeping. The new board of directors includes:

  • Deirdre Helfferich, president
  • Connie Huffman, treasurer
  • Varpu Lotvonen
  • Hans Mölders
  • James Rogan, vice president
  • Phil Rulon
  • Eric Zentner, secretary
The membership entrusted the board to find the needed two alternate board members.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Annual Membership Meeting October 19

It's that time of year again!

Your Board of Directors invites you to come to the annual membership meeting for some excellent food, fun door prizes, and for the business of the library. It's your library, so please join us—we promise it'll be short.

Location: Hartung Hall, Main Street & Ester Loop & Wellhouse Road, in Ester
Time: 5 pm
Day: Sunday, October 19

There's parking at the library (3629 Main Street) a block away, or, if you are inclined to beverages, at the Golden Eagle.

The board has no votes to bring to the membership, other than elections, but we do seek your feedback on the Friends of the Ester Library, and, of course, this is the ideal time for any member to bring forward any issue or idea.

We have a nine-member board, three of whom are continuing onward, two who are retiring with this election, leaving four members running for six spaces. We will need two library members to fill those remaining two board spaces.

Hope to see you there!