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John Trigg Ester Library

The John Trigg Ester Library is a small membership library, located in Ester in the U.S. state of Alaska, and held by the Ester Community Association. It was founded in the summer of 1999 and has developed its collection almost exclusively from donated and found books, videos, DVDs, and audio books. As a result, the collection is eclectic, reflecting the reading habits of members of the community. The family of John Trigg has been a major donor both in books and funds. Much of the library's collection of science, science fiction, fantasy, and mystery titles were originally from Trigg's private library or donated by his family. The library has approximately 5,000 volumes in its collections, and is constructing a new library building.

Library membership is separate from membership in the community association; dues are $5 per year. The library is staffed by a small group of volunteers. An annual fundraiser held in March or April, the Library Lallapalooza and Book Bash, earns income for supplies, rent, and for a building (currently in the planning stages). A second fundraiser, the LiBerry Music Festival, is held in the fall to raise money for heating fuel and other expenses, while a third fundraiser, Readers on the Run, a 5-kilometer footrace, is dedicated to construction expenses for the new building.

The library is housed in a rented room in a building in the center of the village and has a cold-storage annex for donated books. A gazebo, situated about a block away near the village post office, is under construction and will serve as an outdoor reading room and event area in connection with the library.

The Ester library is a member of the Alaska Library Association and uses LibraryThing for its online catalog.


The library has a small Alaska nonfiction/reference section, with special attention to books published in Ester or by or about Ester residents. This includes the only periodicals in the library, those published in Ester: Mushing Magazine from founding through 2005, Alaska Handywoman, and The Ester Republic. The annual reports of the Ester Volunteer Fire Department are also included, but the collection is not yet complete. One periodical published elsewhere, Orion, was donated to the library and so also is in the periodicals section.

The library also has several foreign language and Alaska Native language titles. These are not separated from the regular collections (primarily due to the lack of space) but are integrated into the main sections: Reference, Fiction, Nonfiction, Circumpolar nonfiction, Young readers, Literature, Metaphysics & philosophy, Video/CD fiction & animated, Video/CD nonfiction, Books on tape/CD. Languages include: Athabaskan, Yup'ik, Russian, French, German, Danish, Hungarian, Spanish, and Portuguese. The library also has an extensive collection (for its size) of non-English dictionaries, grammars, and language self-study books.

Collection development plans include expansion of the movies section and inclusion of a music collection.

Book Shelf Project

In a fashion similar to the Noel Wien Public Library's Book Tile Project, the Ester library raises money by dedications with engraved plaques, to be affixed on bookshelves in the new building ($50 per plaque, one plaque per shelf).

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