Wednesday, December 21, 2011

January 2012 events at the Ester library

The next year at the Ester library will be full of activity! Between our new committees and programs and planning for the building construction, there will be many opportunities to volunteer, experience the library's programs and community events, or savor the collection's offerings!

Growing Ester's Biodiversity: program launch

The new GEB program is being launched in January, starting with a book & movie discussion group. The initial meeting of this group is Saturday, Jan. 14, 4:30 pm at the library business office (studio #8, 2922 Parks Highway, upstairs at the Annex).  The next day, same time and same place, the GEB grantwriting group will get together to create the long-term plan for the program and get down to some serious grant applications. Please sign up for the GEB program newsletter if you'd like to stay informed about program events and volunteer opportunities.

Library Lecture Series: Sandy Jamieson

Sandy Jamieson, local painter, pilot, and guide, is the featured speaker who will be kicking off the 2012 lecture series. Come and hear Sandy talk about his experiences on the third Wednesday of the month, Jan. 18, 7 pm at Hartung Hall.

Capital Campaign: fundraising to construct the new library

The library's capital campaign, begun in 2009, is gearing up for the home stretch on fundraising for construction. The library has received strong support from the state and the borough, and the Grants & Fundraising Committee is now looking to private foundations and individual donation drives & fundraisers for the rest. The library design should be completed in January, and we are finishing up the business plan and developing a construction plan, but can use help! The committee meets on the first Tuesday of the month; our first meeting in 2012 will be at the JTEL office, Tuesday, Jan. 3, 6 pm. If you have grantwriting skills or knowledge of grant management, please come! We can use your help.

On Sunday, Jan. 22, 6 pm at the JTEL office, Monique Musick, JTEL president, will present an outline of grant-related needs to the Construction Committee at their first meeting of the year. If you are interested in serving on the construction committee, please attend!

For other meetings and events, please see our Calendar page on this blog, or follow us on Facebook!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

The JTEL Board of Directors put out a Thanksgiving update to the membership:

Happy Thanksgiving!

The board of directors of the John Trigg Ester Library would like to take this opportunity to thank all of you for your support over the years. We have so much to be thankful for. With your support we have purchased land for the new library, constructed a gazebo for outdoor gatherings and performances, designed an incredible community space to Passiv Haus standards (meaning it has nearly net-zero energy demand, makes its own heat and much of its own electricity, and is a VERY affordable building to operate), became a federally recognized nonprofit organization, established an endowment for long-term support of JTEL operations, and so much more. The turnout at our fundraising events this year, including the Library Lallapalooza, LiBerry Music Festival & Pie Throwdown, and Readers on the Run, broke all records and provided vital operating and building support funding. We are currently about one-quarter of the way toward being able to build the new library.

We have made a lot of progress, but there is still much to do. As members, bibliophiles and library supporters there are many ways that you too can help. Our board meetings always include opportunities for public comment, so join us the second Tuesday of each month in our office at the ANNEX, Suite 8 (upstairs). Our agendas, minutes and other information are available on our website: And please, become a JTEL fan and follow us on Facebook.

When was the last time you stopped in to the current Ester library? It is filled from floor to ceiling with a great variety of books and media. Volunteers have done a great job clearing out the stacks of books and making the library as neat and functional as possible. The JTEL is operating on a self-service, honor system and is maintained by volunteers. If you are interested in helping out with the book return system, shelving, cleaning and other chores around the current library, let us know and we'd be glad to train new volunteers to assist with managing the library. We have plans for improving the current space that we hope to be announcing soon. Stay tuned for news of a newly improved library! If you'd like to help, please respond and say you'd like to be a LIBRARY VOLUNTEER.

Have you attended one of our library lectures? We have had presentations from artists, authors, builders and more. We are planning a whole new line-up of presenters starting next spring. Do you have ideas on great presenters? Maybe you like helping to plan fundraising events? We are looking for brand-new fundraising event approaches. Do you have some great ideas? If so, you are the perfect fit for this committee! Please respond and say you'd like to be put in contact with the EVENTS & PROGRAMS COMMITTEE.

Since 2006 we have been working on designing a library with room for gathering space and improved services for the community of Ester and surrounding areas. After many variations, we have finally arrived at a truly revolutionary design utilizing Passiv Haus building standards. The JTEL library will be the first public building in Alaska to have Zero Energy consumption annually. The work for the construction committee is by no means finished even though our plans are 95% complete.

We need an updated construction timeline. We need to complete our local builders and vendors list for procurement. We need to begin drafting an RFP for contractors. We need to identify our project management strategy and all steps needed to bring the library from plan to finished project. We need to keep in touch with the designers and project leader to make sure we answer any building-related questions and planning concerns. The construction committee, as opposed to the general make-up of the board, includes contractors and other professionals familiar with the building industry in Alaska. If you are interested in joining the team please reply and say you'd like to be added to the CONSTRUCTION COMMITTEE e-mail list. Generally the committee meets once a month on a Sunday evening.

Community support for the library has been incredible, but we have to look beyond the checkbooks of our neighbors to make the $800,000 building a reality. Volunteers on the capital campaign committee have been busy brainstorming ways to generate the funding needed to build the new library, including identifying grant opportunities for which the library is eligible. There are many aspects to this work, and more roles than just grant writing. The look and branding of the library is a part. The committee is working on marketing materials and community outreach in addition to business planing, budget development, and creation of a boiler-plate grant application. We have not yet submitted any grant applications because so much work needs to happen first to finalize the building and operating budgets, identify partners and gather the demographic data needed for the statement of need and evaluation plans. It is a mix of MARKETING, BUSINESS MANAGEMENT, and GRANT WRITING, and it is absolutely vital to the future of the library. The committee meets once a month, generally on a Sunday evening, with special meetings held by subcommittees for specific projects on other dates as agreed. If you are interested please reply and say you'd like to be added to the CAPITAL COMMITTEE e-mail list.

Up to this point the treasurer of the organization has had a lot of control over the finances of the library, with regular reporting to the board, but as the library grows, so to must its accounting practices and financial policies. This is a temporary committee dedicated to writing up accounting procedures for the JTEL. From clarifying Quickbooks procedures to establishing cash management policies, we need to make sure that JTEL is following GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) and is audit ready. If you have an accounting or business management background and would like to offer assistance in the development of financial policies please reply and say you'd like to be added to the FINANCE COMMITTEE e-mail list.

Life is busy, and many of you probably do not have time to commit to the library. We understand. One way you can always help the library is to maintain your membership. We distributed membership envelopes broadly before the October annual membership meeting. Did you return yours? An annual membership is a minimum of $5 per person, but if you are able to contribute more it is truly appreciated. The new membership year began in October—chances are your membership has expired! Stop by the current library and fill out the membership form there, send in an envelope if you have one around the house, our reply and ask for MEMBERSHIP information. I'm sorry, but we do not have online membership renewal at this time.

If you have any questions at all, please don't hesitate to contact me. Blessings to you and your loved ones during this season of thankfulness.

Best Regards,
Monique Musick
JTEL President

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Readers on the Run results

At long last, the results from Readers on the Run 2011 are posted online!

The highlights:

Mary Via: first place in the poetry contest
Deirdre Helfferich: first place in the costume contest
57 entrants total, with earnings of roughly $4,100, an all-time record!

Girls' top finisher: Katy Masterman, with a time of 39 minutes and 28 seconds!
Boys' top finisher: Nolan Earnest, 24:21 (24:16 with math quiz)!
Women's top finisher: Molly Rettig, 20:40!
Men's top finisher: Ian MacDougall, 19:21 (19:16 with the math quiz)!

Sarah Bauer and Aimee Fogler were our red lantern finishers, coming in at a leisurely pace after the race clock was packed up...

Thank you to everyone who participated and volunteered for this event. It was a fabulous success, and the many sponsors helped make it a record-breaking fundraiser with the most runners we've ever had. 

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Readers on the Run Sunday Oct. 9!

Once again, Ester's having a run through the village. Unlike the Equinox Marathon or the Ester Dome Ass Kicker, Readers on the Run is a short little fun run hospitable to both serious runners looking for a little variety and fun and those who are new to running, getting into shape, or who just like dressing up and making up silly poems with refrigerator magnets in the brisk outdoor air. Walkers, kids, well-mannered dogs, poets, families, and thespians are encouraged to participate!

Readers on the Run is a five-kilometer footrace with two stops for creation of magnetic poetry. Entrants are awarded prizes based on Best Poem, Best Costume (and sometimes also Best Group Costume), and best times in Men's, Women's, and Kids' categories.

The race is a fundraiser for the John Trigg Ester Library. Funds are raised from sales of t-shirts (this year a limited number of gray hoodies are also available) with a design created by a local artist, entry fees, race sponsors, and this year, donation pledges gathered by the race entrants themselves. Come watch this hoot of a race and cheer on your favorite runner, run as a family or group, buy a t-shirt or sweatshirt from this year or races past, and help build a library for Ester and the west end of the borough!

Race particulars:

  • Date: Sunday morning, 11 am, October 9, 2011
  • Race Start: 500 Village Road, Ester (across from the Ester Post Office at the Ida Lane Clausen Gazebo)
  • Same-day registration: begins at 9 am at the Ida Lane Clausen Gazebo
  • Check-in time: 10 am, Ida Lane Clausen Gazebo
  • Registration fee: $10 before October 7, $15 October 8-9 (check to JTEL or cash)
  • Awards presented after the race at the Golden Eagle Saloon. Minors, please bring your parents. Minors must have the signature of a parent or guardian to participate in the race.
  • Entry forms: available on line or at the Annex, Beaver Sports, Ester Post Office, Gold Hill Liquor & Gas, Goldstream Sports, Gulliver's Books, and Toy Quest.
  • Runner pledge forms: available on line or with the registration form.

If you are interested in helping out as a race volunteer, please contact Nancy Burnham at 457-6668. We can use your help!

We've had many great sponsors this year, with the major ones being Everything Auto & Detail, Gold Hill Liquor & Gas, Taylored Restoration Services, and WV Builders. Other sponsors include Drs. Andrea Earnest & Eric Buetow, Graphic North Printers, Innovation Consulting, Hans Mölders carpenter, McRoy & Blackburn Publishers, Ronn Murray Photography, Stellar Communications, Tandem Enterprises, Water Wagon, and Winterhouse Inc, and many individuals besides. In-kind donors are Ester Designworks, Gulliver's Books, Interior Graphics, and Taylor's Gold-N-Stones, plus the many businesses that have helped us by putting up posters and providing registration forms and envelopes. Please help us thank these generous businesspeople by stopping in to their shops and giving them your custom.

Below are the t-shirt designs from each year of the race:

2011: design by Deirdre Helfferich

2010: design by Amy Cameron

2009: design by Inari Kylänen

2008: design by Dan Darrow

Friday, September 23, 2011

Libraries funded!

The Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly voted in favor of the library capital funding ordinance, with only one dissenting vote (Natalie Howard). The Noel Wien's roof will be repaired, North Pole will get 50% of the funds it needs to build its new branch library, and the John Trigg Ester Library will receive $35,000 towards its construction. Here's a quote from the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner's story on the vote:
More than a dozen people, supporting each of the projects, spoke in support of the vote, stressing the importance of libraries not only as a place for books, but as space for the community, Internet access and youth activities.

“One thing about public libraries and community libraries is that they are a great equalizer, they are a great leveler,” said Assemblywoman Nadine Winters, who sponsored the bill with Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins. “In my opinion, having viable, up-to-date libraries says a lot about a community.”
Here is the audio track from the assembly meeting concerning this ordinance.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Support your local libraries!

At the September 22 Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly meeting, several ordinances will be up for public hearing, including Ordinance 2011-20-1K, to provide funds for repairing the Noel Wien Library's roof, replacing the North Pole branch library, and providing a matching grant for the John Trigg Ester Library's building project. All three libraries are in need of these capital grants.

Here's the meeting schedule and text of the ordinances before the public (be warned; it's a 225-page PDF--the borough assembly has a lot of work in front of them!). The library capital funds ordinance is on p. 86. Public comments are scheduled for 7 pm. We are asking library fans and members to show up at the assembly meeting and give your support for these badly needed construction projects. Or, you can e-mail the assembly members if you cannot make it in person.

The Noel Wien Library would receive $2,493,437; the North Pole library would receive $6,220,000 for a new building (something they've been working toward and needing for years); and the Ester library would receive $35,000 in matching funds toward our new building. Thirty-five grand looks pretty dinky compared to millions for the borough libraries, but given that we need only $800,000 to build the entire Ester library, it's a good chunk of the way forward, bringing us to about 15% of our total need—enough to show foundations and other potential funders that we're serious and that both the state and borough are behind us. Our project may feel big to Ester-are residents, but it is very small in comparison to the borough's library projects.

The John Trigg Ester Library's building design will result in very low operating and maintenance costs. As a building incorporating LEED and Passivhaus performance standards, electrical use will be minimal, there will be no need for a furnace or boiler, and the sun will generate electricity and heat for it, with a supplemental masonry heater for ambience and warmth during the dark months of December and January.

Greg Hill, director of the Noel Wien Library, corrected some misapprehensions about the funding sources for the borough library's part of this capital appropriation proposal in his September 14 News-Miner column, At the Library: "Refuting confusion about the Noel Wien Library roof." In it, he explains:
The Noel Wien Library roof leaks. Engineering studies and architectural designs for replacing the roof with a far superior one were completed last fall. Borough Mayor Luke Hopkins energetically and successfully pushed a legislative funding proposal for $6 million to replace the roof and address the library’s other pressing concerns, like the failing plumbing and alarm systems.…the mayor and Assemblywoman Nadine Winters have introduced an ordinance using money dedicated to the borough’s libraries by the Bentley family to build a new library roof for $2.4 million. The ordinance includes money to provide the matching funds to qualify for 50 percent of the construction costs of the proposed North Pole Branch Library under the state’s library construction program. The ordinance appropriates non-Bentley money for the private library in Ester.
The Ester library, not being part of the borough, does not qualify for the Bentley Trust funds, but does fit the requirements for match funds for nonprofits. The borough sets aside money each year to match grants given to area nonprofits, and this ordinance would designate the John Trigg Ester Library as one of this year's recipients of the match funds already set aside for the purpose.

Previous articles in the News-Miner about the problem and Mayor Luke Hopkins and Assemblywoman Nadine Winters' proposed solution are:

Assemblywoman Diane Hutchison is also a co-sponsor. Please thank these people for their support of local libraries!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Fall events

The LiBerry Music Festival & Pie Throwdown was our best ever! We earned around $4,100 and had 41 pies on the table at the throwdown. We got plenty of press coverage, too, with Tim Ellis of KUAC doing a few interviews and, of course, a big story in The Ester Republic.

The Ester Library Lecture series started its fall season off with a look at Ester history by Matt Reckard. Here's one of the photos he showed, taken by Pat Garner in the late 1940s of Main Street and Moody's Mercantile.

Coming up in the lecture series on September 21, 7 pm at Hartung Hall, is Neil Davis on ACES and oil royalties in Alaska. He'll be providing an update to his article series on the subject. (Here's part one.)

Then comes the fourth annual Readers on the Run footrace on October 9, and Sandy Jamieson for October's lecture on the 19. After that is the 2011 Annual Membership Meeting! It's going to be a busy fall!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

LiBerry Music Festival & Pie Throwdown 2011

"If anyone knows how to throw a family fun music festival in the name of books, berries, and a building, it's the radical librarians of Ester." —Fairbanks Daily News-Miner

Berry season, folks, and it's time for pie and some great local music!

Date & Time: Saturday, August 20, 2 to midnight
Location: Golden Eagle Saloon, 3630 Main Street, Ester, Alaska
Cost: $15 donation requested at the door, $5 donation requested per slice of delicious, homemade pie!
Reason: good fun, good music, good pie—and raising funds to build a library!

Here's the scoop:
  • PIE THROWDOWN: anybody can enter. Bring your homemade pie with berries in it (berries as in the botanical and/or common definition thereof) to the Golden Eagle Saloon between 2 and 3 pm, pay your $2 entry fee and register your pie (and bring your recipe for publication in the Throwdown Cookbook!). Winning pie makers receive FABULOUS prizes, and the top pies are auctioned off to the audience. Awards are presented between 3:30 and 4:30 pm (we hope the judges can finish that fast!) and then the other pies are sold by the slice ($5 donation requested per slice). And if you'd rather just eat pie, one of the judge's seats is up for auction, too, so get there early to have a chance at tasting every pie entered!
  • MUSIC FESTIVAL: music starts at 2 pm and goes until midnight, with some really incredibly good local bands and performers, including Jass Pharm, Steve Brown & the Bailers, Zingaro Roots, Jesse Hobbs, Almost A Minyan, and many, many more. 
  • BOOK SALE: tables with used and new books will be set up on the porch of the Golden Eagle for sale during the festival. We'll have donation jars on the tables, so just take a book or two and put whatever amount you want into the jar. The sale helps us clear out duplicate titles and raise money for our masonry heater.
  • T-SHIRT & FASHION ITEMS SALE: another table will be set up with library t-shirts and extra items remaining from the Lallapalooza. Items are priced as marked. T-shirts & tank tops: $15, sweatshirts: $35, skirts & aprons & jackets: $35-$45. Some shirts have been donated by Nomadic Stars screen printers, too. All proceeds benefit the library!
Volunteers at the John Trigg Ester Library have been working hard for several years to raise funds for a new, spacious, energy-conserving library building in Ester that will serve the west end of town, and you can help! The LiBerry Music festivals started in 2006, becoming steadily more popular and featuring the best of live local music. Come hear rock, folk, jazz, world, blues, bluegrass, and much more, and celebrate and support your local musicians, culinary artists, and neighborhood library all in one great festival!

Monday, July 25, 2011

The nonprofit JTEL: a 501(c)(3) public charity

The John Trigg Ester Library, Inc., is now officially a public charity!

The JTEL received its official letter of determination from the IRS today:
Dear Applicant:

We are pleased to inform you that upon review of your application for tax exempt status we have determined that you are exempt from Federal income tax under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Contributions to you are deductible under section 170 of the Code. You are also qualified to receive tax deductible bequests, devises, transfers or gifts under section 2055, 2106 or 2522 of the Code.
Furthermore, the effective date of the exemption is our incorporation recognition date with the State of Alaska: November 19, 2009.

This is a huge step in our organizational work, and will enable us to qualify for many grants that we could not previously apply for. If you would like to assist the JTEL in working on grant applications or other fundraising efforts, please consider volunteering for our Capital Campaign Committee, or, if that seems daunting, we also have a Fundraising Group and temporary committees for our community fundraisers.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Library lecture on Passive House design by Thorsten Chlupp

A packed audience listened to Thorsten Chlupp's lecture on superinsulated building construction and passive solar heating for homes and communities on April 20, and peppered Chlupp with questions about technical details, energy and building costs and savings, and the water systems for heat storage. The Passive House Performance Standard results in energy savings that far surpasses LEEDs and 5-star energy rated homes. Some of the details were surprising to audience members; for example, the walls in passive structures breathe, using not vapor barriers but vapor-permeable membranes. "You have to forget everything you know about building," Chlupp said. He described how Passive House construction can result in a 90% savings on heating costs compared to conventional building, even in Alaska. This design is now standard for new public buildings throughout Germany, where it has been used since the 1990s, and is spreading elsewhere in Europe also. More about Passive House building techniques, Fairbanks-area Passive Houses, and Chlupp's experience with this method can be found at the Library Lecture Series page on Chlupp's talk.
Thorsten Chlupp, local builder experienced in
Passive House Construction. Photo by Monique Musick.

An attentive audience of builders, architects, and otherwise interested listeners at the April 20 lecture by Thorsten Chlupp at Hartung Hall. Chlupp is explaining the solar heating capacity for a planned community in Okotoks, Alberta, Canada, the Drake Landing Solar Community. Drake Landing's community heating system currently serves 52 homes, all from stored solar energy. Photo by Monique Musick.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

New title: IBM and the Holocaust

One of the newer titles in the John Trigg Ester Library is IBM and the Holocaust: The Strategic Alliance Between Nazi German and America's Most Powerful Corporation, by Edwin Black. This book is about how IBM created pre-computer technology that enabled the Nazis to identify, locate, and catalog European Jews—and thus round them up and murder them.
IBM and its German subsidiary custom-designed complex solutions, one by one, anticipating the Reich's needs. They did not merely sell the machines and walk away. Instead, IBM leased these machines for high fees and became the sole source of the billions of punch cards Hitler needed.
From Richard Pachter's review of the book in the Miami Herald:
The result is an exhaustively researched, highly detailed look at IBM, its history and business dealings. …IBM technology, Black asserts, also enabled the German war machine's mighty manufacturing and distribution prowess. …The question is raised how Watson and other IBM employees managed to get away with this murderous collaboration, how they escaped the notice of the press and the government. The answer, naturally, is complicated. Though much of the firm's activities at home and abroad were reported in newspapers (television news reporting was virtually nonexistent, and radio hardly a credible news medium) there was little effort made to "connect the dots''-with one significant exception. In 1942, an investigation by a minor U.S. government bureaucrat did, indeed, make the necessary connections, but IBM, by then the world's biggest corporation, was also an integral part of the Allied war effort, and had been careful to create an unimpeachable image of patriotism. The investigation was abandoned.

Black's book is, in many ways, like Spielberg's movie, Schindler's List; …More than just another Holocaust tale, the author paints a remarkable portrait of how a powerful company created enormous opportunities, irrespective of moral concerns and consequences. It's a chilling lesson in politics and business that remains potent relevant, and highly revelatory.
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Crown; 1st edition (February 12, 2001)
Language: English
ISBN: 0609607995

Friday, March 18, 2011

Latest developments at the Ester library

Many exciting new developments have occurred in the last few weeks. These include:

  • Sending the 501(c)(3) application to the IRS. It's quite likely that we will receive our federal charitable nonprofit status sometime this summer (the application was sent March 1); this means that donations to the library will be tax-deductible for the 2011 calendar year. The board of directors has been working toward this for over a year and a half, developing the appropriate policies, bylaws, and other organizational documents needed for a charitable organization. We will provide donors with a receipt and our identification number when we receive it. And our sincere thanks!
  • The (almost) final architectural plans have been received from USKH. Other pieces, including the civil engineering and site plan, the structural plans, and the detailed architectural plans, have been contracted for and are expected by May 11, 2011. Electrical engineering, the computing and internet technology plan, and our various permits are also progressing. To view the current floor and site plans, please check out the design and construction planning pages on our website.
  • Launching our community survey. This important survey will help the board plan future programs and better manage the library; the suggestions and comments we've already received in this first two weeks have given us some great insights that will help us with construction, operations, and budgeting. The board is seeking critiques, comments, kudos, and suggestions; we are hoping to see how the community views the role of a library; the importance and meaning of libraries and community spaces to the local population; the best hours and desired programs or services for the community; how important internet access, computers, and e-books at the library are to people; reading and materials preferences; and more. Board members and other volunteers will be at the Ester Post Office every Saturday through the month of April from 10 am to 1:30 pm to discuss the library's future with you. Please come and talk with us and tell us what you think!
  • Setting up an endowment. While we have a capital campaign to raise funds for our building construction, we also need to plan for our long-term fiscal health. Operating the library in perpetuity requires a stable source of funding, and an endowment can help supply this stability. The board voted at its March 13 meeting to establish an endowment with the Alaska Community Foundation, beginning with a $2,000 allocation from our savings; we will need to increase this to $5,000 within a year in order to secure it. As soon as it is set up (which should be no later than the end of April, and perhaps sooner), supporters of the library will be able to donate to the fund in a variety of ways, including payroll deduction, the PickClickGive program, bequests, and other possibilities.
  • Scheduling a grantwriting workshop. A significant part of our capital campaign includes applying for construction grants. We are offering a grantwriting workshop/work session to the public on the first two weekends in April, where attendees will gain experience in the grant application process by working on actual grants for the construction of the library. We expect a group of people of mixed experience; students will be both teaching and learning from each other and the instructors. (For more information, please contact us at or call 451-0636.) If you are on Facebook, you can sign up as an attendee there, too.
  • Our second library lecture series season has begun! Upcoming lectures will include Thorsten Chlupp on April 20, discussing the type of design we plan to use in the new building, Passivehaus design for low or near-zero net energy usage; Jennifer Jolis on the fate of the people of Attu Island during World War II (May 18); Neil Davis; Sandy Jamieson; and others. This season's lectures are at Hartung Hall on the third Wednesday of the month, 7 pm.
These are the major highlights of the library's current activities, but there is more. If you are interested in becoming more actively involved with the John Trigg Ester Library or would like more information, please contact any member of the board.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Panchatantra: statecraft for blockheads

Image from Wikipedia, from an illustration of a tale
in an Arabic version of the Panchatantra.
Emeritus professor of philosophy and eastern religions Walter Benesch will present the first Ester library lecture of 2011, on the Panchatantra, one of the world’s oldest and most satirical/practical guides to politics and political science—applied to the politics of our time!

Come hear Benesch talk about this collection of fables originally composed between 400 and 200 BCE. The author(s) are not clearly known, but the whole is attributed to a Brahman, Vishnusharman, who had been asked by a king in Kashmir to teach the king’s three blockheaded sons the art of statecraft so that when the king died, his kingdom would continue to flourish.

Wednesday, March 16, 7 pm, Hartung Hall
at the corner of Main Street and Ester Loop (parking available at the Golden Eagle Saloon just a block away)

All Ester library lectures are free and open to the public (donations gratefully accepted, however!).

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Librarypalooza & Community Survey

The Librarypalooza is tomorrow! We're releasing the community library survey at the same time. This survey is designed to get feedback on our building plans, help guide us for future fundraising and program decisions, find out about the needs of the community, and other library-related things. Please participate in the survey. To take our survey, go here:

Ester Library Survey

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Lallapalooza volunteers meeting at the Annex

On Friday, Nancy Burnham is holding a volunteers meeting and get-together at the Annex at 6 pm to go over what needs doing at the Lallapalooza. The Annex is at 2922 Parks Highway, in front of Water Wagon. Contact her for more information at 457-6668.

Since people will be there, if you'd like to bring by your auction item donation, you can do that then, too, if you like. Or call and we can come pick it up during the week. Thank you!

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Lasagne sponsors wanted

This year, the main Pastapalooza cheese (so to speak) is Ken Bluhm. He will be making the majority of the lasagnes for the JTEL Lallapalooza & Book Bash; we will need sponsors for the pasta so he can buy noodles, sauce, meat, and vegetables. A few people are bringing lasagnes, and we still need side salads. If you would like to help sponsor a lasagne or provide a salad (bread is taken care of, by none other than our fabulous local baker, Kate Billington), contact the librarians. You can reach Ken at 978-8089, or Nancy Burnham at the Annex at 457-6668. Checks or cash gratefully accepted!

Monday, February 7, 2011

February meetings

Two meetings have been scheduled for February so far:

JTEL Board Meeting
February 10, Thursday, 6 pm
JTEL office, studio #8 the Annex
2922 Parks Highway
please see the agenda

Capital Campaign Committee Meeting
February 17, Thursday, 6 pm
JTEL office
agenda (coming soon)

Saturday, February 5, 2011

More sewing for the book bash!

Friday night was the first meeting of the JTEL Sewing Consortium, and included Amy Cameron, Maia Luick, and Deirdre Helfferich (yours truly). Maia sewed like a maniac and got three fun shirts done, Amy made a skirt, and I worked on a quilt. More great fashion items will be created over the next three weeks before the Lallapalooza & Book Bash. Tonight more sewing is on the table, so to speak, starting this afternoon and going until around 8:30 pm.

If you'd like to come by or be kept posted on the next sew date, contact Amy or Deirdre.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

JTEL Sewing Consortium!

As part of the 2011 Lallapalooza, Amy Cameron will offer a fashion show featuring a catwalk presentation of reworked library t-shirts! T-shirts will be from every design used in library events: the 2008, 2009, and 2010 Readers on the Run race t-shirts, the original large-logo John Trigg Ester Library shirt, and the small-logo t-shirts. Shirts are in a myriad of colors from subdued to eye-wateringly bright to tie-dyed to plain white, black, or grey. There wil be both affordable commemorative pret-a-porter items made by the JTEL Sewing Consortium and limited edition one-offs by local artists. Contact Amy (388-9138) if you would like to join the Consortium or create a unique piece of fashionwear for the event.

JTEL Sewing Consortium: noon to 8 pm, Friday, February 4
Studio #9, the Annex, 2922 Parks Highway
sewing machines and t-shirts provided

Previous fashion shows for the lallapalooza have included: the Shoe Show (2010), the Fancy Apron Parade (2009), the Hat Walk (2007) and the Garden Party (2006)

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Donations for the 2011 Lallapalooza

Letters have gone out to potential donors to the 7th annual Library Lallapalooza & Book Bash, and the results are quite encouraging. A few items so far include:
And this is just the beginning!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Volunteering at the office: cataloging books

Now that we have our cozy office and our computer, volunteers are welcome to come and find out for themselves at first hand how we operate. One of the regular tasks is simply entering all the titles we own into our online catalog at LibraryThing. This is a very good way to become familiar with our offerings!

For those of you inclined to get more involved with the nuts and bolts of library operation, we have a list of JTEL office chores and tasks that you can do. Chief among them is familiarizing yourself with the library's organization  and policies, history, building plans, grant applications, minutes, fundraisers, and so forth. It's important that our members and particularly our volunteers understand the library they are a part of!

The next item on the list is cataloging books and movies that have been donated to the Ester library. We started our online catalog in January 2008, and two or three volunteers have so far catalogued a total of 1,320 titles over the last three years. All the books that are on the shelves in the library itself have cards and card pockets and are ready for members to borrow them, but most of them are uncatalogued—which means that really, neither the board nor the members knows what we have.

So cataloging our collection is quite important. If you'd like to help with this task, Deirdre Helfferich (JTEL board president and chief cataloger) can show you how to do it (call 451-0636 or e-mail There is also a how-to guide on the office computer. An alias on the computer desktop, LibraryThing how-to.pages, will open up a step-by-step guide to LibraryThing and the cataloging process.

We have an office coffeepot, so you are welcome to make yourself a cup of coffee or tea and spend an hour or two entering titles, reading up on the library, or just reading one of the many books here on our bookshelves. Enjoy!

Monday, January 24, 2011

Capital Campaign Committee meeting Jan. 26

The next meeting of the Capital Campaign Committee for the Ester library is this week, Wednesday, Jan. 26, 6 pm at the JTEL office (studio #8 at the Annex gallery, 2922 Parks Highway).

We'll be discussing the community survey, logos, the lallapalooza, the FY 2012 appropriations request, and more. Library members are encouraged to come!

Looking for librarypalooza volunteers!

The 7th annual Library Lallapalooza and Book Bash is coming up on Sunday, February 27, from 2 to 5 pm at the Annex. As usual, this fundraiser has several aspects.
  • the music: Monique Musick and Bob Huebert are rounding up volunteers to perform at the librarypalooza. We'll have live background music throughout the afternoon.
  • the Pastapalooza: Ken Bluhm is organizing the lasagne feed. If you would like to help him with this or want to take a spell serving pasta to the public, contact him at 978-8089.
  • the auctions: this year, there will be an outcry auction as well as the four silent auctions. If you'd like to donate an item for the auction, or help close tables or work the payment booth, contact Trey Simmons at or call Jeff Rogers at 474-1694.
  • the fashion show: Amy Cameron is once again curating a fashion show, and needs runway models and fabric artists to convert library t-shirts into pret-a-porter items or one-of-a-kind fashion statements. Contact her at or 388-9183 if you'd like to join the JTEL Sewing Consortium or walk the library strut at the 'Palooza.
  • not last and not least, the desserts: We'll be featuring fabulous desserts during the outcry auction. If you'd like to contribute a dessert, please contact Melinda Harris at 378-6744.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Passive House library

At the Construction Committee meeting on Sunday, there was considerable discussion about the Passive House standard as a guide for the design of the new library. Passive House is a rigorous energy performance standard that originated in Germany in the 1990s. Here's the basics:
Performance Characteristics

• Airtight building shell ≤ 0.6 ACH @ 50 pascal pressure, measured by blower-door test.

• Annual heat requirement ≤ 15 kWh/m2/year (4.75 kBtu/sf/yr)

• Primary Energy ≤ 120 kWh/m2/year (38.1 kBtu/sf/yr)

In addition, the following are recommendations, varying with climate:

• Window u-value ≤ 0.8 W/m2/K

• Ventilation system with heat recovery with ≥ 75% efficiency with low electric consumption @ 0.45 Wh/m3

• Thermal Bridge Free Construction ≤ 0.01 W/mK
This kind of construction is so energy-efficient, the buildings don't need a furnace! The JTEL board and the construction committee are leaning toward this design standard because it will keep operating costs for the building very, very low. Passive House is a performance standard only, however; unlike the LEED standard, the greeness of the materials or whether they are of local manufacture is not a consideration. For more information on the Passive House standard, check out these links:

• detailed information on what makes a building a Passive House
Passive House Institute of the US
• Swiss Passive House equivalent: the Minergie standard
Wikipedia entry on Passive House

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Upcoming library meetings

The Fundraising & Capital Campaign Committee meets this Wednesday, Jan. 5 at 6 pm at the JTEL office. On the agenda are library logos, a community survey, Librarypalooza planning, and the marketing plan. The Capital Campaign Committee's meetings are open to any library members who wish to help with fundraising.

The Construction Committee is tentatively meeting on Sunday, January 9, 4 pm at the Golden Eagle.

The JTEL board meeting is the week after, on Thursday, Jan. 13, at 7 pm at the JTEL office. Board meetings are open to any library member. The final review of the 501(c)(3) nonprofit application will be held at this meeting. For more information, please see the agenda.

2011 Library Lallapalooza needs help!

The 7th annual John Trigg Ester Library Lallapalooza & Book Bash is coming up! This fundraiser for the Ester library will be held Sunday Feb. 27 from 2-5 PM at The Annex, and features a silent auction (2-5PM), lasagne feed (3 PM), and outcry auction (4 PM), and, of course, fabulous entertainment and fashion!

If you are interested in performing at the Librarypalooza, please contact Monique Musick at 388-4784. Spots are limited, so please contact us early!

Details on the dessert auction will be posted here soon. Melinda Harris is coordinating this event, and may be reached at 378-6744.

Donations for the outcry and silent auctions are needed! If you're interested in donating or volunteering, contact organizers Nancy Burnham (, 457-6668) or Trey Simmons (, 452-0518).