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Seed Library

About the LME Seed Library      

The Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can borrow to plant and grow at home. By saving seeds as a community, we help to:

  • encourage patrons to sustainably grow and harvest their own food
  • support and build community among fellow gardeners
  • promote new or reluctant gardeners to try their hand at growing
  • preserve open-pollinated or heirloom seeds
  • encourage patrons to grow and save seeds

The Seed Library is open during the growing season, usually March-October.


How to Use the Seed Library

Using the Seed Library is easy!

  1. Pick out the seeds you would like to plant from our Seed Library display by the circulation desk.
    • Take up to 5 different seed packets per family per month.
    • Each packet contains enough seeds to grow at least 3 plants. Please note that seeds are available on a first-come, first-served basis.
    • Please do not take all the same variety of seeds—leave some for others to enjoy!
  2. Take your seeds home and plant them.
  3. If you are able, consider saving some seeds from your mature plants and donating them back to the seed library.

Seed Library FAQs

Where is the Seed Library located?

The Seed Library is by the circulation desk and is available March through October. Take up to 5 different seed packets per family per month. 

Do I need to return seeds to the library?

No, you do not need to return seeds to the library. There is no obligation to save and return seeds, especially if you’re new to seed saving. As you grow as a gardener and a seed saver, we hope that you will consider sharing your seeds with the Seed Library community.

Are there any fines or fees?

The Seed Library is free to use and there are no late fees or replacement costs. No library card is required to use the Seed Library. 

What kind of seeds are available?

Supplies and varieties vary, but the collection usually includes vegetables, herbs, and flowers. To check what seeds are currently available stop by to browse! Seeds are available while supplies last.

Seeds available as of 7/2/24:

Type Variety Heirloom   Type Variety Heirloom Collected
Beans Blue Lake (Bush) Yes   Cosmos Dazzler yes  
Beets Early Wonder Yes   Four O'Clock Marbles    
Cantaloupe Hearts of Gold Yes   Four O'Clock Kaleidoscope    
Peas Grey Sugar Yes   Milkweed, Butterfly  Asclepias tuberosa   2023
Radish French Breakfast Yes   Milkweed, Common Asclepias syriaca   2023
Radish Early Scarlet Globe Yes   Moonflower Datura Innoxia   2022
Radish Watermelon Yes   Nasturtium Empress of India yes  
Spinach Bloomsdale Long Standing Yes   Nasturtium Alaska yes  
Squash Early Yellow Crookneck Yes   Partridge Pea Chamaecrista fasciculata    
Squash Table Queen Acorn Yes   Sunflower Velvet Queen yes  
Tomato Mortgage Lifter Yes   Wildflowers Hummingbird & Butterfly Mix    
Swiss Chard Bright Lights     Zinnia Thumbelina    


How do you know when to plant seeds?

The Illinois Extension Office has lots of resources at: 

How do I return seeds?

In order to continue and grow our seed library from year to year, we ask that you try to harvest and return seeds from your crop. Be sure to dry them, and store them in a cool, dry place until you can return them to the Library. We suggest that you save the packet from your borrowed seeds so that you have all the required information available when you return your seeds. Growing, harvesting, saving, and donating seeds cultivates a culture of sharing throughout our community.

What if I want to donate seeds from outside the Seed Library?

Seed donations are welcome all year round. You can donate seeds you saved yourself or any purchased seeds you don’t need. Keep in mind that the LME Library only accepts open-pollinated or heirloom seeds. Thank you for supporting the LME Seed Library!


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