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Seed Libraries Are Sprouting Up Around the Pine Tree State

Maine libraries have added seed “borrowing” to their growing list of resources.

A former card catalog at Bucksport’s Buck Memorial Library is now a seed catalog
A former card catalog at Bucksport’s Buck Memorial Library is now a seed catalog (with verdant touches added for effect). Photo by Tara Rice
By Nora Saks
From our April 2024 Home & Garden issue

Among the study tables and the stacks of books and the periodical reading rooms, at public libraries from North Berwick to Milbridge to Bangor, seeds have suddenly taken root in the catalog — often quite literally, with the drawers of stately old card catalogs now used for little packets of vegetable, herb, and flower seeds. Whether green-thumbed or plain old green, anyone can drop by for some free garden fodder, which is usually donated by community members, Maine seed companies (like Johnny’s and Fedco), and garden centers.

Seed libraries took off early in the pandemic, as many people turned their attention to tending their homes and gardens. Now, libraries tend to pair seed lending with how-to programming, often in partnership with local garden clubs. Some libraries also encourage “borrowers” to save seeds from their crop and then drop them off at the end of the growing season, but that’s not a requirement (and there are no late fees).

Lisa Ladd, director of Bucksport’s Buck Memorial Library, sees seeds fitting nicely into libraries’ broader mission to make knowledge and resources accessible to the public. “As libraries continue to evolve, we’re always looking for ways to meet the community outside of our walls and offer programs that touch different ages and all walks of life,” she says. “Whether you’re a millionaire or unhoused, there’s something so satisfying about planting a seed and watching it grow.”

More Maine Seed Libraries

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Buck Memorial Library
47 Main St, Bucksport

X

X

X

X

Waterville Public Library
73 Elm St, Waterville

X

X

X

X

Ellsworth Public Library
20 State St, Ellsworth

X

X

X

X

Northeast Harbor Library
1 Joy Road, Northeast Harbor

X

X

Caribou Public Library
30 High Street, Caribou

X

X

X

X

Thompson Free Library
186 E. Main St, Dover-Foxcroft

X

X

X

X

Searsmont Town Library
37 Main Street, Searsmont

X

X

X

Wells Public Library
1434 Post Road, Wells

X

X

X

Milbridge Public Library
18 School Street, Milbridge

X

X

X

X

Bangor Public Library
145 Harlow St, Bangor

X

Friend Memorial Public Library
1 Reach Road, Brooklin

X

X

X

X

D.A. Hurd Library
41 High St, North Berwick

X

X

X

X

Curtis Memorial Library
23 Pleasant St, Brunswick

X

X

X

X

William Fogg Library
116 Old Road, Eliot

X

X

Carver Memorial Library
12 Union St, Searsport

X

X

X

More Maine Seed Libraries

Buck Memorial Library
47 Main St, Bucksport

X

X

X

X

Waterville Public Library
73 Elm St, Waterville

X

X

X

X

Ellsworth Public Library
20 State St, Ellsworth

X

X

X

X

Northeast Harbor Library
1 Joy Road, Northeast Harbor

X

X

Caribou Public Library
30 High Street, Caribou

X

X

X

X

Thompson Free Library
186 E. Main St, Dover-Foxcroft

X

X

X

X

Searsmont Town Library
37 Main Street, Searsmont

X

X

X

Wells Public Library
1434 Post Road, Wells

X

X

X

Milbridge Public Library
18 School Street, Milbridge

X

X

X

X

Bangor Public Library
145 Harlow St, Bangor

X

Friend Memorial Public Library
1 Reach Road, Brooklin

X

X

X

X

D.A. Hurd Library
41 High St, North Berwick

X

X

X

X

Curtis Memorial Library
23 Pleasant St, Brunswick

X

X

X

X

William Fogg Library
116 Old Road, Eliot

X

X

Carver Memorial Library
12 Union St, Searsport

X

X

X

April 2024, Down East Magazine

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