This site serves as a launchpad after the Seed Libraries panel at the 2015 Iowa Library Association conference. We hope our collection of links helps your community develop new local food initiatives, identify potential partners, and have fun learning.
Please contact us with stories from your community!
"In 1984, 5,000 non-hybrid varieties of vegetables were available in seed catalogs. By 1998, 88 percent of those were no longer offered … Though some of these varieties are still being maintained by amateur seed savers, they are no longer available for most growers. Many have disappeared forever. Each lost variety is like a book taken from the library and burned. Some say ‘we have all the genes still,’ and that may be so, but having all the genes is like having a dictionary; all the pieces are there but a dictionary does not do what Macbeth or even a Stephen King novel does. Each cultivar is a unique combination crafted by climate, soil, history, and human hands to fill its niche. It is a legacy of human-plant interaction that took thousands of years to shape. A variety is a work of art passed to us from people of the past." –Brian Connolly
The seed collection is housed in vintage card catalogs.
Books in the 635s are shelved near the seed collection at Ely to help inspire patrons.
Keeping the collection organized is crucial!
Librarians love when patrons gift them with their fresh produce!
A collection of floral and native prairie seeds is available as well as produce.
Patrons are able to browse and select seeds during normal hours of operation.
Seeds returned to the collection are labelled to meet state standards and help next season's gardeners make selections.
Ely hope to continue to grow our collection!