US: Library in Texas offers vegetable seeds as well as books

Ohio’s Akron-Summit Public Library recently added a Seed Sharing Library, a resource for distributing mainly heirloom vegetable seeds. Users choose envelopes of seeds from a repurposed card catalog in the main library’s science and technology division and then check them out by filling out a form.

Unlike books, DVDs, CDs and the like, the seeds don’t have to be returned. “There are no overdue fines,” division manager Monique Mason said.

The public library aims to encourage people to grow and eat healthful foods, she said. It will welcome donations of seeds produced by the vegetables its patrons grow.

Picture courtesy Dallas News.

The idea was suggested earlier this year by a neighbor of a librarian who works with Hattie Larlham’s food-growing operation, Hattie’s Garden. Since the library is already a place for distributing resources, “it just seemed like such a natural fit,” Mason said.

Library representatives talked to people involved in local gardening efforts, researched seed-sharing operations at other libraries and obtained donations of seeds before quietly launching the seed library in April.

It started with about 800 envelopes of seeds representing dozens of plant varieties - mostly heirloom vegetables but also a few hybrids as well as herbs and flowers, said Michele McNeal, a science and technology librarian. The seeds include such charmingly named varieties as Yaya carrots, Grandma Oliver’s green tomatoes and McNeal’s favorite, Lazy Housewife pole beans.


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