“Seed Exchange” Lending Library opening this spring (Updated)

by beth on March 13, 2020

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Above: Old library card catalogs are being put to a new use. The Library is using them for its new seed exchange program. (image cropped from Library website)

[Editor’s Note: With the temporary closure of the Library “until further notice”, obviously, the launch won’t take place on the 19th as originally planned. At this point, staff will be hoping that they can reopen doors and launch the seed library sometime this spring. I’ll post the new date once it is known.]

On Thursday, March 19th, the Southborough Library will officially launch a seed lending library.

Wondering how you can be lent seeds? The idea is to plant seeds this season, then (in the fall) harvest seeds from successful plantings to contribute back for use in spring 2021.

Despite the recent warm weather, it may be too soon to start sowing seeds outdoors. The Library’s dedicated page explains the launch is timed to start indoor growing. 

On offer will be over 60 varieties of plant seeds, including vegetables, herbs and flowering plants. (Given the Native Plant initiative supported by many of the volunteers involved, I can assure you they will contain plenty of native varieties.) Patrons can each take up to 10 bags of seeds for free.

Southborough Library seed exchange flyerAccording to the Library’s website, the catalog is located in the Judy Williams Reading Room upstairs. Each packet will include identification information and details of how and when to plant the seeds.

Below are some FAQs:

What is a Lending Seed Library?
A seed library is a place where community members can take out seeds for free, like a book. It is run for the public benefit. We hope to get folks to garden and grow their own food. We hope to develop a network of seed savers to create locally adapted varieties, to preserve genetic diversity. Seed saving is something humans have done for over 10,000 years. A great way to share the abundance of our community.

Who will be able to participate?
This is a program that is geared for all generations. No matter what level of experience you have. We hope to provide books that will provide information about seeds and plants and the wonderful world of gardening for preschoolers through to senior gardeners.

It is a way for more experienced growers to share their knowledge about what tricks and tips they have picked up over the years.

How will it work?
Patrons can withdraw individual seed packets each spring and then plant the seeds with hopes that more seeds will be returned in the fall. Hopefully those seeds will be more acclimated to this are. This will empower residents to grow their own food and through the leaning, growing and sharing of related programs at the library.

Each seed packet will have information on it explaining how and when to plant your seed to maximize your success in growing them.

The program is coordinated by Library staff member Pat Ellis and Director Ryan Donovan.

The effort was also supported by volunteer work coordinated through seed gathering and cleaning events sponsored by the Open Space Preservation Commission as part of its “Native Plant • Native Pollinator” initiative.  Initial funding of materials for seed packets was provided by The Friends of the Southborough Library.

Update (3/16/20 9:20 am): This morning, the Library announced it would be temporarily closed “until further notice”.

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