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.