The Seed Library is free to anyone, with or without a library card. People can “check out” up to three packets a month. Live Oak is launching Seed Libraries at all of their library locations this spring, and a few libraries also will have raised garden beds.
This program has inspired many other activities at the library, including library partnerships with local nonprofits to provide programming related to gardening, nutrition, and healthy cooking and eating.
The library has a StoryWalk® with the book Plant the Tiny Seed by Christie Matheson, which can be found at Southwest Chatham Library and raises awareness about the Seed Library. Several libraries have started a Spice Club, which gives away a free monthly spice kit along with information and recipes.
The library also partners with a local farmers market food truck that does outreach in areas that are food deserts, some of which coincide with underserved neighborhoods where libraries are located.
Funded through a Georgia Public Library Service strategic partnerships subgrant made possible through the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the Seed Library launched in 2020. Live Oak Public Libraries collaborated closely with their local University of Georgia County Extension Office and volunteer master gardeners for expertise and resources to get the Seed Library started.
“Our partnerships grant program was designed to encourage our public libraries to find ways to start or strengthen relationships with other local community-centric organizations,” said Dustin Landrum, partnerships director at Georgia Public Library Service, which empowers libraries to serve all Georgians. “Local partnerships are a win for libraries and their partners because by working together, they amplify their impact in communities.”
Colleen Moultry and her daughter Bethany, 7, were pleasantly surprised when they discovered the Seed Library. But to Colleen, it made sense. “The library is the heartbeat of the community,” she said. “It brings all different kinds of people together, young and old, no matter their background.”
She had always wanted to start a garden in her yard, and with the seeds from the library, her family did it in 2021. “The first thing we grew was zucchini,” said Bethany. “I can’t wait to see what we grow this year.” Learn more about the Seed Library at liveoakpl.org/seedlibrary.
You may be surprised at what you can do at your local library! Ask your librarian if they offer seeds, a community garden, a StoryWalk, or even a beehive. Find your nearest library.