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Lane Library offers free seeds in Lane Seed Library program

The Oxford Lane Library started a Seed Library to encourage community members to garden and enjoy nature.
The Oxford Lane Library started a Seed Library to encourage community members to garden and enjoy nature.

The Lane Library in Oxford implemented a “Lane Seed Library” program beginning March 31 to give community members seed packets to plant.

Participants can then harvest their seeds to turn back in to the library and share them in a community exchange program. The program is open to all community members including adults, children and Miami University students.

The Lane Seed Library offers seeds for vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers. Community members can take up to five seed packets at once. Each packet of seeds comes with enough to grow at least three to six plants of that type.

This program was established in 2018 at the library’s Hamilton branch by Tess Catlin, public services librarian at the Hamilton Lane Library. Rebecca Smith, branch Manager of the Oxford Lane Library, wanted to implement the program in Oxford.

“[The program] is an extension of what we are already offering to our patrons,” Smith said. “We already offer programs and books about gardening and saving seeds. Providing the seeds was a really natural extension.”

Sara Corbin, a 31-year-old resident of Oxford, participated in the program. She was at the library printing papers when she saw the seed station. A librarian told her the details of the program, and she got her seeds the same day.

“I recently have tried my hand at gardening … as a beginner gardener,” Corbin said. “People learning how to garden has many benefits, especially environmental. This is one small step to help the environment.”

Smith said the program has been very popular. As of April 15, more than 30 individuals have utilized the program. 

Lane Library currently receives their seeds from companies that have taken the Safe Seed Pledge, a commitment to not buy or sell genetically-engineered plants. The library receives most of their seeds from High Mowing, Ferry Morse and Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds.

The program offers a variety of plant types for the community.

“There are 10 different plant families, and within that there is the plant type and then the variety,” Smith said. “It’s constantly changing, which is very exciting. It’s similar to the books on our shelves.”

Corbin picked up lavender, mint, romaine, mixed lettuce and basil seeds for her garden.

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Corbin has two children, a 5-year-old and a 2-year-old, who have enjoyed helping with her new garden. She said the experience has been a good way to learn new skills and use her hands.

“[This program] is a way for community members to give back to the community through sharing seeds and information, and [an] abundance of bounty,” Smith said.

The Des Fleurs Garden Club donated the foundation for the seed library, Smith said. They also donated money to purchase a cabinet where the seeds will be stored. The cabinet is on backorder to June, though, so the packets are currently found in labeled baskets.

The seed library has also helped inspire young gardeners in the Talawanda High School Diversity Club by donating to the new  Seeds of Hope program..

Sara Morris, biology teacher at Talawanda High School and advisor of the diversity club, reached out to Smith for seed donations. The club received soil and potting donations from Shade Makers.

“I contacted the library, and Rebecca Smith worked with me to pick out seeds that made the most sense for our program, including plants that didn’t get too big,” Morris said.

Through their program, four students in the diversity club planted 110 pots with seeds.  

“The goal is to distribute the plants to elderly folks in the community,” Morris said. “We are giving a shout out to the people that donated the seeds and soil and pots. We want to make people smile in these hard times.”