Saturday, April 18, 2015

Community garden at the Ester library

For the last two years, an informal community garden has been functioning at the JTEL's Clausen Cabin, in part to help preserve Ida Clausen's gardening legacy, passed on by Lynn and Ray Kulp (formidable gardeners themselves), and in part to provide an option for JTEL members and residents of Ester who had unfavorable gardening locations (or none!). The JTEL has provided information on running a community garden, seed starting and saving, gardening books, tools, seeds, and a few flower and vegetable beds. So far, it has worked. The only requirement has been that those who take advantage of a bed or the other options also help care for the rest of the yard (i.e., show up for the garden work parties or water the flower pots on the porch if they seem to need it, mow the lawn).

Diagram showing major garden beds around the Clausen Cabin. 
Reservations are taken for the major beds starting in March. The JTEL recommends contacting Calypso Farm & Ecology Center for information on gardening best practices. While no formal community garden has been organized, the JTEL is open to options. If you have some ideas about this, send us an e-mail at board at Thanks!

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Thank you!

Twenty people pledged $1,325 to the John Trigg Ester Library from their Permanent Fund Dividend through the Pick.Click.Give. program this year, and that means a LOT to us! We know the choices were harder this year, and so we appreciate each donor that much more. Thank  you.

Here's why one person supported the library through the PCG program:
I like the convenience of walking to a neighborhood library rather than going downtown or to the bookstore. A bookmobile doesn't replace that community center feel that a library has, and I want that for our village. The Pick.Click.Give. program gave me a convenient way to donate to a cause I believe in.

Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Happenings at the Clausen Cabin in April

The first week and a half in April at the Clausen Cabin will be a bit busy! We've got Easter Sunday coming up on the 5th, and the Ester Community Association is as usual sponsoring its annual Easter Egg Hunt. Decorated eggs will be hidden throughout the village, including on the library grounds. At the Golden Eagle Saloon, there will be the traditional Deviled Eggs, among other edible goodies prepared in excess for the weekend's musicians and audience.

The next week is the library's seed swap! Just bring any heirloom or open-pollinated seeds you  would like to trade, and come by between 1 and 4 pm to the Clausen Cabin at 3629 Main Street, Ester. Come chat with your fellow seed and garden enthusiasts! Take free gardening literature! Learn about seed saving and seed stewardship networks.

We're only holding one Seedy Saturday this year, and although it's a bit late in the season, Kurt Wold of Pingo Farm assures us that it's not yet too late for trading seeds. He'll be there to provide advice (and hand out catalogs). The JTEL seed library has plenty of seeds, from flowers to vegetables to grains, and you can sign up as a member of the library or just trade with your neighbors.

There's loads of fun at your community library, and this summer will be even better. Come join us!

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.