Never have thoughts of spring been so welcome. Warmth, light, air, green. The season is just around the corner and Prescott Public Library and Prescott Farmers Market are excited to announce the opening of the Prescott Seed Library in March.
Beginning this spring, library users will be able to “check out” seed packets with their library card; 26 varieties of fruits, vegetables, herbs and flowers will be available in this first season of the Seed Library. While a library card is required to check out the seeds, they will be yours to keep, plant, nurture, and harvest. The Seed Library will not accept donations of harvested seeds initially, though that might eventually become part of the project.
Prescott Farmers Market Executive Director Kathleen Yetman and Janet Wilson, owner of Prescott Gardener, collaborated with librarians Ruthie Hewitt and Martha Baden to create this opportunity for library users and garden lovers.
Yetman says that Prescott Farmers Market has offered an informal seed exchange on a quarterly basis since 2017, but partnering with the library broadens the reach of the program.
“Providing free seeds to the public cultivates a healthy community and increases access to fruits and vegetables,” she says. “Prescott Farmers Market is thrilled to be able to collaborate with Prescott Public Library to ensure that everyone has the seeds and resources to grow their own food.”
The library plans to host programs featuring local growers who can share their expertise and encourage novice gardeners. Prescott Farmers Market growers will kick off this series with a program about starting seeds indoors. Eventually the library will host the programs in person, but until large groups can once again gather safely at the library, Seed Library programs will be hosted virtually through Zoom.
The Seed Library will be located on the 2nd floor of the library in a 60-drawer card catalog. Patrons will find a new collection of gardening books alongside the seeds. Even if the library is not open to the public due to COVID-19 concerns, librarians can make the seeds available to patrons through the library’s curbside service.
Wilson and Yetman had fun selecting the seeds and purchased them for this joint venture with funds raised through past seed exchanges and individual donations.
“We chose open-pollinated varieties that will do well in our region, and can be started in spring both inside and direct sown outside,” Wilson says. “As we approach our last frost date in mid-May, we will add another round of seeds to the library with varieties that should be planted after any chances of frost have passed.”
Packets, promotional materials and books are funded through the Friends of the Prescott Public Library and library funds.
Speaking from a library perspective, Hewitt says seed libraries have been a fixture in public libraries for many years: “We are so excited to get our own here in Prescott! It will be a great addition to our Library of Things collection, which includes hiking backpacks, Wi-Fi hotspots and iPad minis. Our Library of Things offers the community more ways to connect with each other and the natural world.”
For more information about the Prescott Seed Library or about getting a library card, visit www.prescottlibrary.info/seed-library or call 928-777-1500.