Garden clearing and books n’ things


It’s beginning to look a lot like a library!


The garden beds, minus the rails

There weren’t many helping hands last Sunday, but we hauled off 3 truckloads of pallets, rotten flowerbed rails and junk, thereby cleaning up the yards and grounds of the Clausen Cabin.  In the meantime, books are being cataloged and shelved – 115 this month alone!  Still to be done – build the new flowerbed rails, move the 55 gallon trashcan of coal across the street to the Golden Eagle and lots of cataloging and shelving of books.

Thanks to the following for all their hard work this past month: Ginny and Charlie Gallagher, Kay Sisson, and board members Mindy Gallagher, Gary Pohl and Syrilyn Tong.

Also, please do not just bring books to the Clausen and leave them.  Call us at 907-374-8080 or email to to see if we can use them and to set up a time to accept them.

white building

One of several outbuildings, all spruced up!

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Garden Party/Yard Clean-up

We could use your help to spruce up the grounds of the John Trigg Ester Library!

When: Sunday, June 25, noon-4PM

Where: Clausen Cabin

Who: Anyone who would like to help weed, take out trash and in general, spruce up the grounds

BBQ and drinks to follow.

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Soft Opening Success!

Children's section

Children’s section

Bean bag chairs - Children's section

Bean bag chairs – Children’s section

About 2 dozen people munched on cookies and soup while visiting the Clausen Cabin this past Saturday for our soft opening.  We queried people as to what hours/days the cabin should be open, what categories of books should go in, and in general what folks wanted for the Clausen Cabin.

If you didn’t get a chance to stop by, please feel free to comment below or give us a call (907-374-8080)!

Kayt Sunwood places books on the shelves while President Syrilyn Tong looks on

Kayt Sunwood places books on the shelves while President Syrilyn Tong looks on

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Clausen soft opening, Sneak Peek this Saturday

Clausen Cabin

The time has finally arrived – we are ready to bust down the doors and invite all members, donors, volunteers and all others interested in the library to our Sneak Peek into the Clausen Cabin library, this Saturday, May 20, from 2-4 PM.

Get an inside look at the great changes happening at the Clausen Cabin while helping to decide the best use of space in the new facility. What sections do you want to see? How can you help catalog and curate from the collections we have in storage? How can we best operate to meet community needs? Come share your opinions and enjoy a sneak peek of the space.

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Collections and inventory – April 2017

anglersWith the 24 titles added in April, the total of catalogued books and movies in the JTEL collections comes to 7,711. Many volumes in the Alaska Geographic series (donated by Merritt Helfferich) were added this month, as were a couple of books on revegetation and hydrology, and An Angler’s Anthology, a collection of aphorisms, poems, and short stories suitable to philosophic fishing.

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Come walk and graze in the Fairbanks Visitor Industry Walk for Charity

Do you like to take short walks? While grazing on great food? And helping JTEL raise money? Then the 15th annual Fairbanks Visitor Industry Walk for Charity is right up your alley!

Friday May 12 from 6:00 PM -8:00 PM in downtown Fairbanks come participate in a 4km graze through Fairbanks while munching on great eats from local restaurants. The cost is $25, and 100% of the proceeds go towards local non-profits (be sure to pick JTEL as your charity of choice!).

You’ll receive an apron and lots of good food, for a great cause.

You can see more details, or sign up online. Thanks, and ‘hope to see you grazing!

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HB197 public comments postponed (again)

As of this writing, there is no further scheduled public comment on the bill.  HOWEVER, according to the Legislative Information Office, they encourage the public to write up their comments and send it to the sponsors of the bill.  Thus, the sponsors will 1) have the comments when they consider the bill, 2) you won’t have to wait hours by the phone, and 3) you can write longer than the 2 minutes allowed for public (verbal) comments. Additionally, those comments are attached to the bill and other members of the public can read them, too.

Here are the emails of the committee members:,,,


If you are so inclined, please write the representatives and voice your concern over the content of the bill. Remember, we are in favor of the intent of the bill, just not the specifics.  Please read the full post, below.


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HB197 testimony rescheduled to Thursday at 5:00 PM

If you are still interested in testifying against the current seed bill, the phone number to contact is 844-586-9085 at 5:00PM Thursday, April 13

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JTEL Opposed to HB197; public testimony today at 1:00

The JTEL Board of Directors met last night to discuss HB197; legislation regarding Seed Libraries, and is opposed to the specifics of the pending legislation. Here is a brief history and the reasons that we are opposed:

History: The USDA (Dept. of Agriculture) Federal Seed Act and Alaska Administrative Code 11 AAC 34.075 prohibit the sale and/or bartering of non-commercial seeds unless they have been properly labeled and tested. Several states, including California, have enacted laws that exempt small seed exchanges and/or libraries from such cumbersome regulations. HB197 is trying to do so in Alaska.

Reasons for opposition: While we are not opposed to the intent of the proposed legislation, we are opposed to the specifics, namely:

  1. The Division of Natural Resources would administer this program, not local entities
  2. The proposed legislation only allows 100 grams per person per year per variety of seed. Does that mean we will have to track names, addresses, quantity of seed, etc. for DNR, and therefore potentially violate rights of privacy for our recipients?
  3. 100 grams is a lot for small seeds, but what about seed potatoes and/or bulbs? One or more of these types of seeds will easily exceed the 100 grams limit.
  4. Labeling with name of seed, donor’s name and address, year of packaging, weight and the wording “Not authorized for commercial use and not classified, graded or inspected by the State of Alaska” are required labels for every seed packet that may be bartered/exchanged under the proposed legislation. The requirements to include home address infringes on the privacy of donors and may deter individuals.
  5. The language refers to sellers instead of donors and refers to the year seed was packaged for sale – neither of which are appropriate references for donors and freely traded seeds.
  6. Seeds must be from plants grown in-state. Thus, out of state donations of seed, which we have obtained in the past both from other seed libraries and from individuals who have harvested from their previous residences, are prohibited.
  7. Restricting donations to in-state seeds also jeopardizes one of the compelling reasons for having seed libraries in the first place: protection of seed varieties and global access to food sources.  The regular exchange of seeds among communities and peoples has allowed crops to adapt to different conditions, climates and topographies.  This is what has allowed farming to spread and grow and feed the world with a diversified diet.  It is critical to global food security to continue to trade seeds through other seed libraries and exchange programs.
  8. Only untreated seeds are allowed, which is an understandable desire, but it is not reasonable to expect a seed library to be able to certify that this requirement is being met, which would make it nearly impossible to accept any seed donations.
  9. There is no protective clause, ie: what happens if a seed library inadvertently violates a provision?

Talking points for letters and/or comments to your legislators:

  1. The intent of the proposed legislation is good
  2. The restrictions on labeling and weight should be deleted or modified to protect privacy and make exception for heavier seeds, bulbs, tubers or seed potatoes.
  3. Restrictions on in-state seeds should be deleted
  4. Restrictions on untreated seeds should be deleted
  5. References to donors as sellers and seeds packaged for sales should be modified to reflect donors or donations, not sellers or sales
  6. Add a protective clause, such as: “For purposes of this section, anyone determined to be engaging in noncommercial seed sharing shall not be subject to the criminal prosecution or monetary fines for violations of any other section of this chapter.”

The bill is up for public comment today from 1:00-3:00 PM. You can either call in for teleconferencing at 1-844-586-9085, or go to the Sadler’s Building (1292 Sadler Way, Suite 308) for in-person comments (they prefer this method, as the phone connection is better).  For others around the state, the Legislative Information Offices has phone and email contact info here.  There are several other bills on the agenda, so if you have a speaker phone and can listen in, then speak when called upon, that is best.

Thank you to all who can lend their voice to the opposition of this legislation. The future of the seed library in Ester and around the State thank you!

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HB197 – Seed Library legislation

Some of you have heard about this bill making its way through the State house committee, and have even left messages on our voice mail. We are aware of the bill, and are opposed to it, however, we need to meet as a board (tomorrow, Tuesday, April 11) in order to flesh out our opposition.

Once we have come up with our official stance, we will post talking points on this site and our Facebook site, in order to inform you, and if you so desire, comment on the bill as it makes its way through committee.  Please check back after Wednesday, April 12.

Thanks for those of you who have voiced concern!

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