SEED LIBRARY | Cultivating Community


What is a seed library?

A seed library is as exactly as it sounds — we “loan” seeds to patrons to grow plants in their home garden. Similar to borrowing a book, the patron “borrows” seeds with the intention of harvesting seeds from their crop to return to the library for future lending. 

Why a seed library?

A seed library brings many benefits to our community:

  • Encourages patrons to sustainably grow and harvest their own food
  • Supports and builds community among fellow gardeners
  • Promotes new or reluctant gardeners to try their hand at growing
  • Preserves open-pollinated or heirloom seeds
  • Encourages patrons to grow and save seeds

What seeds do you offer?

Because this is a seed library, our collection of seeds grows each year with seed donations and community members “returning” the seeds they harvested. For a full list of what seeds we are offering this year, see the selection in the sign up form on this page. Want more information on our offerings? You can read more detailed information about each seed, including planting and harvesting instructions, in our Seed Guide.

How do I borrow seeds?

With your Bensenville Community Public Library card, you may borrow up to five packets consisting of no more than two of each variety of seed. Each packet contains enough seeds to grow at least 3 plants. Each packet is labeled with the type of seed and growing instructions.

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.


Order your seeds online and pickup at the Library — inside or via curbside pickup!

Fill out this form and we will get your seeds ready for you! A staff member will call you when your seeds are available for pickup. Seed orders are typically ready between 24-48 hours and seeds can be picked up at the Library’s Circulation Desk or via our curbside pickup service.

Don’t want to order online? No worries! You may also select your seeds at the Library’s Circulation Desk at anytime.

  • Seeds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. 
  • Remember, there is a 5 seed packet maximum, with 2 maximum per variety, per card.

Please select your seeds (max. 5 per card, 2 max. per variety):

The seeds above are listed in the following order: vegetables, herbs, and flowers. To read more about each plant and it's planting and harvesting instructions, please view our Seed Guide.

What if I can’t harvest seeds?

There is no penalty for not returning seeds. However, we encourage any patron who borrows seeds to educate themselves on the practice of saving seeds. We do acknowledge that not all seeds will germinate, not all plants will survive, and therefore sometimes it is just not possible to return borrowed seeds.

Can I donate other seeds?

Yes! If you would like to donate seeds, please contact the Library.  Keep in mind that the Bensenville Community Public Library only accepts open-pollinated or heirloom seeds.

Seed Saving and Gardening Books

For questions about our seed library, please contact Sue Feddersen, Materials Services Coordinator, at sfeddersen@benlib.org or (630) 766-4642.

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