Library Starts Seed Sharing Program Among Patrons

Library Starts Seed Sharing Program Among Patrons

Colorado institution attempts to pioneer a program to draw in readers and put them in touch with nature.

Betsy Mead
  • 5 february 2013

A Colorado library is laying the groundwork for community involvement—through the sharing of seeds. The branch in the small town of Basalt is currently engaged in a program that allows patrons to grow their own produce, and bring back seeds for use by fellow townspeople.

According to the American Library Association, the initiative is currently in place in several libraries nationwide. It hopes to allow libraries to “stay relevant” and bring in readers who might otherwise be content to remain at home and download their materials rather than visiting a brick-and-mortar location. As director Barbara Milnor put it,

You have to be fleet of foot if you’re going to stay relevant, and that’s what the big problem is with a lot of libraries, is relevancy.

The innovative program works by allowing those who register for library cards to receive a packet of seeds. These can then be used to make a personal vegetable garden at home. All the planter need to do is collect the resulting seeds and bring them back for future use.

Aside from drawing in readers who would otherwise prefer to digest their materials digitally, the growing element will encourage more “tangible” pursuits and get sowers in touch with the outdoors again. Colorado’s dryness and unwelcoming soil pose many problems for would-be gardeners, but perhaps seed sharing will foster greater encouragement for those willing to give it a shot.

Image and credits: NPR and



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