Have you heard the words “seed library” in conjunction with Haliburton County Public Library and wondered what that could be? It isn’t possible to borrow seeds like you would books…or is it?
Seed libraries are popping up in various library systems including Markham, Vaughan, Orillia, Collingwood, Meaford and Prince Edward County. Each seed library is unique to the place and the people involved. In Haliburton County, the library is partnered with Haliburton In Transition (HINT) and Harvest Haliburton. Spearheading the project at the library is Sue Robinson, Community Partnerships & Administration.
Basically, people come to the library to borrow and return seeds. People plant seeds in their gardens, raise the plants, let a bit of them go to seed and bring some of those mature seeds back to the library to replenish the collection.
Jacob Kearey-Moreland, Cultivator, Toronto Seed Library puts it this way: “Just as traditional libraries encourage mass literacy, seed libraries propagate seed, food and garden literacy.”
Settled against a west wall of the Dysart branch, look for the sign “Haliburton County Seed Library”. Organized simply, with 2.5” x 4” envelopes neatly labelled and filed in a wooden box on top of a drawer cabinet, you can search for packets of herbs, beans, bok choy, peppers, swiss chard, squash, tomatoes, flowers and more.
After selecting the packets, use the front of the log book, found in a drawer, to record which seeds that you are borrowing by writing in the type of seed taken and your initials. The back of the log book is for recording seeds that you are “returning” or donating, with the name of the seed, municipality where grown, where they originated (source) and again, your initials.
Empty seed packets are clearly labelled in the wooden box for you to take for returning or donating seeds. Information sheets on saving seeds, etc. are in the cabinet as well.
You don’t need a library card. If you take seeds and never return any, you won’t be in trouble and you can still come back to borrow more.
But, you might want to get a library card because there are over one hundred gardening books distributed over the eight library branches in Haliburton County. The popular up-to-date horticultural magazines in our system that can be borrowed are Canadian Gardening, Birds & Blooms and Better Homes and Gardens. These can be put on hold and picked up at the branch of your choice, if you don’t see them on the magazine shelves.
If you have questions about the seed library, Sue Robinson can be contacted at the library administrative office by phone, 705-457-2241, or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
In her 2009 Report to the Community, CEO Bessie Sullivan wrote: “While the books are what anchor us, we are working towards being the hub of the community and a place that meets more than just reading needs”. The seed library certainly fits into that mandate.