Programs & Activities Plan & Policy

approved by the JTEL Board of Directors 8/9/2011, submitted by Deirdre Helfferich, June 28, 2011, updated to include GEB program information 8/15/2013; links updated 9/24/2016 dh

Plan Summary

The Program & Activities Development Plan outlines library programs that the community and the board aim to introduce at the John Trigg Ester Library, and provides program goals and a guide for establishing, funding, and maintaining programs and activities that the library develops.

Contents of the plan include:

  • Plan Summary
  • Purpose of Plan
  • Updating the Plan
  • Types of Programs
  • Program Development Goals
  • Existing Programs & Activities
  • Potential Programs
  • Program Development
  • Proposal Process
  • Program Plan
  • References

Purpose of Plan

The purpose of this development plan is to provide an overview of past and potential future programs, and to provide guidelines and goals for program development and review. Programs are developed with reference to the JTEL Goals & Objectives and the library’s mission.

Updating the Plan

This plan should be reviewed and updated annually by the JTEL Board of Directors, the head librarian, and interested volunteers, within four months of the JTEL Annual Meeting, or as needed if a suitable program proposal is submitted to and accepted by the board. The board may create a Program Committee to which it can delegate these powers if it so chooses.

Types of Programs

Library programs may be thought of as falling into three categories:

Activity: a single session or limited event that runs independently of other programs and does not repeat. Examples include one-time workshops, parties or celebrations, retreats, special presentations or events.

Event: multiple sessions within a set timeframe or a single session held regularly at a specific date; these are often tied to a theme, season, or special interest topic. Examples include annual fundraisers, workshops, book sales, special weeks or days (such as Banned Books Week or Major Miner Day), or festivals (such as the Alaska Book Festival or the LiBerry Music Festival).

Program: an ongoing series of sessions (such as the Ester Library Lecture Series, the regular meeting of a book club, the Cabin Fever Reading Program, Guys Read, or a regular children’s storytime).

Program Development Goals

Several objectives in the JTEL Goals & Objectives affect the development of suitable programs for the JTEL. In brief, these are:

  • provide a welcoming and intellectually stimulating environment where community members can meet, learn, and share ideas
  • to celebrate and showcase Ester’s artistic diversity and innovation
  • to celebrate and showcase Ester’s unique character and history
  • to celebrate and showcase Ester’s musical, literary, and theatrical talent
  • to establish educational, cultural, and community-building library programs and archives
  • to encourage healthy lifestyles and an understanding of the natural world

Programs are to be established to further the mission of the library and to further the JTEL Goals & Objectives. Programs should be developed according to the following aims:

  • To offer a broad mix of community services and amenities;
  • To foster communication, dialogue, civics, and information and cultural exchange;
  • To showcase history and information, with special emphasis on local history and lore;
  • To showcase and foster local art, literature, music, and performance;
  • To showcase and foster local innovation;
  • To serve as a community gathering place;
  • To build capacity for local businesses, nonprofits, and other community organizations;
  • To offer timely and seasonally appropriate activities and programs;
  • To support and foster community health and wellbeing.

The overall goal of programs and activities at the JTEL should be to support, educate, and foster the wellbeing of the Ester area’s residents and of its community life.

Existing & Past Programs & Activities

Past Programs

The JTEL has hosted the following activities:

  • a children’s storytime (two sessions)
  • Soup & Stow (combination work & picnic party, three sessions)
  • various work parties
  • a volunteer picnic
  • the Ida Lane Clausen Gazebo dedication party, held August 1, 2010
  • a grantwriting workshop (two sessions)
  • a community survey (launched February 27, 2011 and ending July 31, 2011)
  • a library information and sales booth irregularly hosted at the Ester Community Market (summers 2009–2011)

Current Programs


Library fundraisers are community-building events as well as sources of income for the JTEL. They inform and entertain the public, and celebrate aspects of community life.

  • Library Lallapalooza & Book Bash: combination lasagne feed, auction, performance, fashion show, and book sale (see
  • Librarypalooza Leftovers Sale: sale of items remaining from Lallapalooza auction and book sale
  • LiBerry Music Festival & Pie Throwdown: festival focusing on local musicians and groups, and a pie-making contest (see
  • Readers on the Run: combination 5-k footrace, costume contest, and magnetic poetry contest (see


Growing Ester’s Biodiversity (launched 2012, under development)

GEB functions as a lending and educational program: participants “check out” seeds, grow them, and then selected growers who are skilled at seed saving “return” or donate seeds at the end of the growing season. Through partnerships with local agriculturalists and educational institutions, GEB educates the public by means of lectures, workshops, and fliers or other literature in seed saving techniques and biodiversity in garden plants, gardening and local food production, gardening history and traditions (with a focus on Alaska), and other, related topics. The GEB highlights or feature books and movies relating to these topics in blog posts, library displays, and program events. Library Lecture Series

The Library Lecture Series is an all-volunteer educational program held nine months of the year, with June, July, and December as the months without lectures. The lecture series features writers, artists, adventurers, scholars, entrepreneurs, musicians, craftspeople, and colorful characters from, visiting, or of interest to Ester. Topics are as varied as the speakers. The series is held on the third Wednesday of the month, at 7 pm, and lectures usually last from an hour to two hours (including questions & discussion time). Proctors set up the event and clean up, and introduce the library, the series, and the lecturer. A board member or other designated volunteer or committee solicits and selects speakers and arranges for a venue (to date, the series has been held at Hartung Community Hall in Ester).

See Program Plan, below, for more detail on programs and activities under development.

Potential Programs

Among the ideas already presented to the library but not yet developed as formal proposals, or previously created but cancelled due to lack of space or other resources, are:

  • adult summer and winter reading programs
  • Alaska Book Festival participation
  • art installations program
  • Banned Books Week
  • a book club
  • Cabin Fever Reading Program
  • a children’s storytime program
  • a community garden on the library grounds
  • game night at the library
  • geology/minerals display and/or workshops
  • Guys and/or Gals Read at the JTEL
  • information booth at community events such as Angry Young & Poor
  • a knitting or crafters’ group
  • Lattés for the Library (fundraiser)
  • Major Miner Day celebration
  • museum of Ester history and mining life
  • a music archive/library
  • music jams at the gazebo or the library
  • poetry slams
  • Read Comics in Public Day
  • Red Dress Party (fundraiser)
  • resumé and job search assistance
  • Soup & Stow potluck and shelving/cataloging work party
  • South of the Border or other themed cuisine potluck (fundraiser)
  • story nights at the gazebo
  • tax return preparation assistance
  • theatre productions
  • topical workshop series (similar to the Pure Power Lecture Series by the Ester Community Association)
  • writing groups

Program Development

To establish a program, the following process may be used:

  • Brainstorming ideas
  • Research and needs assessment by idea supporter
  • Submittal of proposal to JTEL Board or Program Committee
  • Evaluation of proposal
  • Preliminary proposal acceptance (or rejection)

If the proposal is accepted, the Program Committee or board will take steps to further evaluate the potential program and explore its implementation. Working with the proposer, the committee will:

  • Conduct a further, more detailed needs assement. This may include gathering additional data through surveys, focus groups, or other means. If the proposal is well-prepared, this step may not be necessary. If need warrants, the committee will go on to the next steps.
  • Prepare an implementation plan, including securing partners, volunteers, funding, resources and equipment, and a timeline for implementation.
  • The committee will submit the plan to the JTEL Board of Directors for approval or amendment.
  • If approved, the committee is then responsible for implementation according to the final plan.
  • The committee and proposer must prepare a detailed plan to evaluate the program on a regular basis (if an ongoing program) or after the program is complete (for events and activities). Evaluations should be submitted to the committee and a summary presented to the JTEL Board of Directors.

A copy of each program proposal, needs assessment, implementation plan, evaluation plan, and program evaluation(s) will be kept at the JTEL Business office where they may be reviewed by the public.

Proposal Process

Many good ideas are developed through informal brainstorming, but this can leave certain practical aspects of creating and maintaining programs out of the equation. To take an idea and develop a program that will serve the community and the goals of the library, a formal and succinct (no more than ten pages) proposal should be submitted to the JTEL Board of Directors or the Program Committee, in hard copy. This proposal should include the following elements:

  • Program title
  • Person or group proposing the program
  • Date of proposal
  • Brief program description
  • Significance of the program
  • Need for and scope of the program
  • Stakeholders or community members the program will serve
  • Partner organizations willing to work with the JTEL on the program, if any
  • Expected program budget and support required (e.g., equipment, venue, supplies, personnel, etc.)
  • Funding sources
  • Implementation outline and timeline
  • Program evaluation outline
  • Examples of similar programs at other institutions, if any
  • References, if pertinent
  • Contact information for the proposer(s)

Proposers of potential programs for the Ester library are expected to participate in its implementation and support if the program is accepted.

The submitted proposal will be evaluated according to its completeness, its correspondence to the Mission and Goals & Objectives of the JTEL, the support for the proposal, the program’s innovation and utility, and the ability of the JTEL to implement, administer, and maintain the program. Copies of all proposals submitted will be kept in the JTEL records at its Business Office, and may be examined by the public.

Program Plan

This plan will list programs in development and their status as proposals are submitted. Fundraising events may be developed separately from the Program & Activities Development Plan, but should be listed here while under development for reference.

Current proposals:

  • Ester Old Time Music Society (draft proposal submitted 8/9/2013)

Programs in development:

  • Seed Library Program: Growing Ester’s Biodiversity (proposal submitted 6/28/2011, preliminary approval 8/9/2011, program launch 2012). The program has begun with expanding the JTEL’s collections on seeds and seed-saving, hosting seed swaps and lectures on biodiversity, and workshops on seed saving. The GEB program’s purpose is to:
    • create an accessible and affordable source of regionally-adapted seeds that grow well in the Ester area that is maintained by a local community of caring farmers and gardeners;
    • educate library members and the public about biodiversity, garden and plant ecology, sustainable food production, food sovereignty, cultural traditions concerning food and agriculture, heirloom varieties, Ester and Alaska’s agricultural history, and related topics;
    • build community awareness and connections through partnerships between the library and local nonprofits, food producers, horticulture businesses, gardeners, educational institutions, health practitioners, artists, and others; and
    • strengthen the JTEL’s connections to its community, membership, and volunteers; broaden the relevance of the library to area residents; set an example for other libraries and organizations; and support and supplement the other educational programs of the JTEL.


 JTEL Goals & Objectives,” board plan.

“How to Make Your Library Great,” by the Project for Public Spaces, available on line at

“Libraries that Matter,” by Cynthia Nikitin and Josh Jackson, available on line at

“Planning and developing library activities, events or programs,” slide presentation by Matt Cornell, Programs Librarian, Monash Public Library Service. Available on line at

“Preparing A School Library Program Development Plan,” planning guide by the State Library of Iowa,