TRUCKEE, Calif. — One of the primary roles of public libraries is to respond to the specific resource needs of their communities.
Sometimes those needs result in unexpected services, such as in Alameda and Richmond, Calif., Basalt, Colo., and LaCrosse, Wisc., where seed-lending libraries have emerged to serve their residents.
At seed libraries, patrons “check out” seeds, with the understanding that, at the end of the growing season, they will save seeds from their crop — as farmers have done for years — to replenish the library’s collection.
If the crop doesn’t make it, the grower can bring in store-bought seeds to replace what they had “borrowed.”
“A common attribute of many seed libraries is to preserve agricultural biodiversity by focusing on rare, local, and heirloom seed varieties,” notes Wikipedia.
Many seed-lending libraries offer classes on organic gardening and seed-saving, and, of course, all have books and periodicals with comprehensive information on gardening.
Some, such as Richmond’s “Richmond Grows,” ask that patrons watch an online orientation before borrowing seeds.