Public Libraries

Illegal Seed Libraries Becoming Legit in Nebraska

THE ASSOCIATED PRESS In this Dec. 18 photo, Betsy Goodman looks over seed packets at the Benson Public Library in Omaha. Goodman established a seed library at the branch in 2012, and patrons checked out nearly 5,000 packets in 2014.

Nebraska seed libraries find themselves in a bit of a predicament. They’re technically illegal.

So far, nobody has beaten down the door at the three Omaha Public Library branches that have seed-sharing programs.
But according to statute, the programs violate the law by not meeting vigorous testing and packaging requirements intended for the sale of seeds.
A bill proposed by State Sen. Burke Harr of Omaha aims to change that. Legislative Bill 544, to be heard in the Legislature today is aimed at repealing what Harr calls “out of date legislation” and replacing it with new language that encourages community gardens and seed sharing.
“I think everyone sees the importance of (seed libraries), but old legislation didn’t foresee these, so we’ve got to clarify what the statute is,” Harr said. “They weren’t meant to be outlawed.”
The change in language offers seed libraries protection from some of the regulations and restraints put on seed companies. Most libraries aren’t able to afford the testing required to conform to the current law.
Harr said he expects little resistance to the bill.

via Omaha lawmaker wants to rid seed libraries of outlaw status – Legislature.