Today I visited the Juan Tabo Library here in town to find out how they save seeds. I met with the founder of the Seed Library, seed librarian and branch Manager, Ms. Sauer to discuss the seed library. I asked her what the main difference is between a seed bank and a seed library. She said that it is purely an opinion, but a seed library was smaller and less formal than a seed bank. A seed bank would have stricter requirements for taking and donating seed. The seed library is just to encourage the local community to learn about seed saving and to try to enforce it in our own homes. She mentioned that it took about 6 months of work to plan it out. The seed library was functional by early March.
The picture below, which I took, shows how they have organized the seeds in the seed library. They used an old card catalog from the Main Library. Now that we have computers to aid us in checking out books and movies, the cabinet no longer had a use. One other feature of this cabinet is that it is elevated. This helps keep bugs and other pests out of the seeds. When I asked Ms. Sauer about pests problems, she said that if the seeds are properly saved and stored, they should not attract pests. But if the cabinet is raised, that will also help keep pests out.
The seeds are organized alphabetically. This made it easier for the community to find the seeds that they are looking for. The only seeds that are not alphabetized are the herbs. Cilantro, basil, and other comman garden herbs are not alphabetized. Because the seed library has been running fro a few months, all the finicky details have not been totally sorted out. How to categorize and what to accept are detail that still need to be worked out. I anticipate that students will need some prodding to get this project started at Academy. I would like the volunteers to receive community service credit. This picture, which I also took, shows how the seed is saved in the library. The seeds are saved in coin envelopes that many banks and other accounting businesses.
When the donor drops off the seeds, they are interviewed so that the library and see how the seeds were grown. Many seeds won’t be easily identified as GMO’s. If they are grown from seed and the seed packet doesn’t have anything about being a hybrid, the seeds are fine to donate. The donor has a pre-filled out form of the information for the seeds. Either Ms. Sauer or some volunteers type up the more crucial information into a sticker format to place on the bag of seeds. All the information on the seed that the donor filled out is transferred into their data bank. Then, depending on the number of seeds, is split up between the coin envelopes. A bar code is placed on the envelope so that the library can keep track of the amount of people that use the seed library. Along with the bar code, there is a sticker identifying the type of seed it is, how easy it is to save and how much water it uses. (pictures taken by me)
For the seed library at school, I was also planning on using an old pamphlet file. It is just a bigger version of the card file at the library. The file at school is located in the back of the library. One down side to the location is the Mouse/bug problem. The reason that the area that the cabinet is in is preferable is because it is accessible to the Academy Community and it is not crowded. To help make the most of the space that we have, dividers will be added to the drawers. The pamphlet file is the size of a file folder. The card cabinet drawers at the library are approximately 10 in x 5 in x 3 in. The 4 usable drawers are on the far right and are about 18 in x 12 in x 12 in. The dividers will help use the space that we have. The picture below was taken by Jocelyn on her iPhone.
To help implement this at school, I have asked the Upper School Librarian to help take care of it when students are not available to man the library. I also want to train students on how to use a seed library. I want to ask for volunteers first from the Environmental club, then for anyone who wants to learn how to do this. The easiest way to keep this going is to train the kids. They will help spread the knowledge for the future.