Local Libraries Prepare For Spring With Seed Libraries

Pictured is the seed library display at Chautauqua Institution’s Smith Memorial Library. Submitted photo

As the spring season draws closer, many local libraries are preparing to reopen their seed libraries.

Seed libraries are a nationwide trend found at many libraries, including a few local ones, where people can come in and find whatever seeds they want for free. Each library handles the process differently.

One such local library is the Smith Memorial Library at Chautauqua Institution. Director Scott Ekstrom said they have continued to provide certain types of seeds during the fall and winter months and will soon be preparing to change over to spring seeds. He said seeds are put out in an old card catalog display — getting the idea from the Barker Library in Fredonia — that is no longer used and patrons of the library are welcome to come and take them when wanted with no library card required.

“Whether they begin their garden inside or keep them as they plan their spring garden or end up sharing them with a friend, we don’t keep track,” Ekstrom said. “We’re just happy to share these resources, and an enthusiasm for gardening, with the community.”

Seeds available at Smith Memorial Library came from many local businesses including Mike’s Nursery in Lakewood and Mayberry Jungle in Mayville. Institution staff members have also helped out.

“We had mostly vegetable seeds until Chautauqua Institution Supervisor of Gardens Betsy Burgeson heard about our Seed Library and started bringing us flower seeds, as well as some origami-made envelopes that people can take to put their extra seeds in and share with a friend,” Ekstrom said. “As long as we have seeds available, we will keep our display up until at least May.”

Another local library offering a seed library is the Ashville Library — 2200 North Maple Avenue. Library Director Kristina Benson said that their library has existed for a little over a year with the help of donations from Chautauqua Institution.

“We had many seeds donated from Chautauqua Institution’s Betsy Burgeson and Kindy Parker,” Benson said. “All of our seeds are available for free and you can donate or take some. They are almost all native and suitable for the area.”

Additionally, because almost all of the flower seeds and other types of seeds donated are native, Benson said this should make them easier to grow and they will also attract and be beneficial for bees and other local insects.

At the Mayville Library — 92 South Erie Street — Library Director Melissa Bartok said seed libraries are for sharing. The Mayville Library seed library began in March of last year.

“People can leave and take seeds,” Bartok said. “They can grow their own flowers that are not packaged from a company. The seeds are for whoever wants them.”

One lady who donates seeds even designs her own packaging for them, Bartok said. She added that people should take advantage of seed libraries because there is no cost.

“It’s a money saver,” Bartok said. “You don’t have to buy your own. We have a large variety of different flowers and vegetables. People can also try things that they might not necessarily grow on their own at no cost.”

Other local libraries currently offering seed libraries include the Myers Memorial Library in Frewsburg and the Barker Library in Fredonia.


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