Gilbert H. Gragg Library promotes gardening through Seed Library Exchange

Published 9:13 am Monday, March 7, 2022

The Decatur County Gilbert H. Gragg Library recently announced the start of a new program: The Seed Library Exchange, which allows members to plant, grow and enjoy seeds from various plants, before returning the seeds to allow others to do the same.

The mission of the Seed Library is to provide a free collection of seeds to help introduce and nurture an interest of gardening to members in the community.

The Library offers seeds, along with instructions to help new gardeners gain knowledge and become successful and growing wholesome food and beautiful garden varieties.

Marketing and Programming Librarian, Beth Jones explained that the Library currently has all the seeds divided up into sections of beans and peas, herbs, vegetables and flowers.

“We’ve divided them into little envelopes with the instructions right on top,” she said. “It tells you what the seed is, the plant’s common name and the variant, along with the days it takes to germinate, soil temperatures and planting space. Everything you can think of is right there on the envelope.”

The seeds, which were donated by Fedco Seeds and Sow Right Seeds, will be kept behind the main library counter to reduce the risk of patrons opening the envelopes and losing or accidentally mixing the seeds.

Instead, those interested will be given a Seed Catalog Binder and can see the packets the seeds came in and what they will look like once fully grown.

“They can go through and see what they want,” Jones said. “They are then given slips of paper where they write down the plant’s common name and variety name to give to the front desk, so they can retrieve it.”

The Library will then track how many seeds and packets are going out the door, but the Seed Library will operate on an honor system.

“One of the reasons it’s referred to as a Seed Library instead of just free seeds, is the idea that you plant them, grow and take what you want, but then you leave one plant to go to seed,” Jones said. “You then return those seeds back to the Library, so we can send those seeds back out into the community.”

While the Seed Library is open to any patron of the library, Jones’ hope is that parents will bring their kids in, and they can bond together over gardening.

The library even offers a couple of kids books involving gardening, specifically with an emphasis on the importance of seeds titled Seeds by Lemniscates and Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson.

“We have books that help beginner gardeners, but my hope is that once we start in-person programming, I can bring someone in who can tell us the best way to plant these and go into great detail about plants,” Jones said.

The Seed Library is already open at the Gilbert H. Gragg Library and Jones hopes to eventually open it at the Miller and Seminole County Libraries as well.

“This is our tester to iron out all the kinks, before we send it to our other libraries,” she said.

For those uninterested in checking out seeds, they also accept donations of seeds to the library, as long as the plant name and variety is with the seeds.