Libraries / Materials / Programming / Thinking Out of the Book

Seed Library


Check out some gardening experience! For kids…?

I just read an article about a fantastic seed library collection in Arizona. As a lover of both libraries and seeds (my apartment is full of them, unfortunately unplanted and some getting rather old), this seems like an amazing idea.



Image courtesy of Jacci Howard Bear

My next thought was: could we do this with kids?


Totally! Some of my best moments with kids have been while sharing my fascination with seeds, those small pods where plants come from, and also with gardening. J&J (brother and sister) and I went seed hunting in the yard of their house for what in retrospect seems like the entire afternoon. And then we planted some! For weeks afterwards, I’d come over to find they had located more seeds and attempted to plant them around the house.

Unfortunately, not all of these seeds were “easy” starter seeds so did not take. All the more reason for pairing specially chosen seeds to “check out,” along with books on life cycles and gardening (perhaps pre-packaged or displayed together?). Perhaps a good addition to a summer reading program?

Do any of you have experience with similar programming or materials? How would you handle the storage of this special collection? Please share your ideas and experiences!

The seeds are either open-pollinated or heirlooms, says librarian Justine Hernandez, who is in charge of the collection.


“There are no hybrids, so they will breed true,” says Hernandez…

County residents with library cards can “borrow” a packet of 10 to 15 seeds…

These “borrowers” plant the seeds, grow the plants, then voluntarily collect and return seeds from those plants to replenish the collection.

Gardeners can get planting and care information as printed material at the libraries or online at

The seeds eventually can be reserved online like the library’s other collections.

The library also plans to conduct gardening and seed-collecting workshops for residents.

( Via



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