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” the seeds with the intention of harvesting seeds from their future crop to return to the library for future lending. 

Why a seed library?

A seed library brings many benefits to our community. It encourages patrons to sustainably grow and harvest their own food, it supports and builds community among fellow gardeners, it promotes new or reluctant gardeners to try their hand at growing, it preserves open pollinated or heirloom seeds, and encourages patrons to grow and save seeds.

What seeds do you offer?

All of the seeds from our first year (2019) were generously donated by Pioneer Garden & Feed in Villa Park. Because this is a seed library, our collection of seeds grew last fall with seed donations and community members “returning” the seeds they harvested. All seeds currently offered are labeled as “EASY” to grow and can be directly sown in your garden or container outside after last frost. For a full list of what seeds we are offering this year, see the selection in the sign up form on this page. You can also read more detailed information about each seed, including planting and harvesting instructions in our Seed Guide.


Order your Fall 2020 seeds!

Fill out the form below to request your seeds! We’ll call you when your seeds are available at the Library for you to pickup inside or via curbside pickup. You can also request your seeds over the phone at (630) 766-4642 or at the Library at the Circulation Desk, however, please note that seeds are available on a first-come, first-served basis, while supplies last. 

For our fall seeds, there is a 3 seed packet maximum per card,
with 2 maximum packets of a single variety, please!

Please select your seeds (max. 3 per card total, 2 max. of a 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.

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 — and we will mail your seeds to you! 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.

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 from your home garden, please contact the Library.  Keep in mind that the Bensenville Community Public Library only accepts open-pollinated or heirloom seeds.

For questions about our seed library, please contact Sue Feddersen, Materials Services Coordinator, at sfeddersen@benlib.org.

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