We lend books, DVDs, CDs, and now...seeds!
Simpson Library is excited to be one of a few libraries across the United States to have a Seed Library. The idea behind the seed library is that patrons select seeds, having a chance to try new varieties without having to purchase a whole pack of seeds. The library provide adults with programming related to gardening and seed saving throughout the spring and summer, giving interested patrons a chance to learn more.
Repurposing old technology, we acquired a card catalog located on the main level that serves as the home of the seed library. The drawers are divided by three categories: vegetables, herbs, and ornamentals. Drawers are marked by how difficult it is to save the seeds. The Seed Library’s starting seeds were purchased and graciously donated by the Cumberland County Commission for Women.
We are excited to create a unique and meaningful addition to Mechanicsburg’s community resources.
Seed Saving Books at the Library
- List of Seed Saving Books at the Cumberland County Library System (PDF, 160KB, 3 pages)\
- You can also find a list of seed saving books in our online catalog.
Simpson Seed Library Works with PA Dept. of Agriculture
March 28, 2016 - "Thanks to a statewide coalition of concerned advocates, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture has clarified that seed libraries and other non-commercial seed exchanges are not subject to the cost-prohibitive licensing, labeling and testing requirements required of commercial seed distributors in the Seed Act of 2004." - read the full article.
In early June, Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture officials notified the Simpson Public Library that while it was not selling seeds, the library must comply with the state's 2004 Seed Act which regulates the sale and distribution of seeds. In addition to licensing seed distributors, the 2004 Seed Act requires that distributors only offer seeds that are tested using ‘AOSA Rules for Testing Seed’ and are labeled with each seed variety’s germination test dates, sell by dates, lot numbers, seed types, etc.
Since the library is not able to provide testing services for seeds harvested by its library users, we will not be able to accept harvested seeds as we had originally planned.
However, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture officials worked with the library and suggested that we host seed swap events. This means that the Simpson Library can continue working with community members to promote home gardening and the preservation of heriloom seed varieties.
For more information about the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture's concerns, see:
- Letter from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture to Simpson Library (PDF, 756KB, 2 pages)
- Suggested Seed Library Protocol from the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDF, 290KB, 2 pages)
- Text of email to Johnny Zook, Seed Program Supervisor for the Pensylvania Department of Agriculture, from Jonelle Darr, Executive Director of the Cumberland County Library System (PDF, 63KB, 1 page)
- Cumberland County Library System Press Release on Changes to Seed Library (PDF, 35KB, 1 page)
- Pennsylvania 2004 Seed Act (PDF, 149KB, 23 pages)
Simpson Seed Library in the Media
- AlliedNews: Seed libraries in Pa. now exempt from costly law
- PennLive: "Mechanicsburg's new seed library will lend herb, vegetable seeds": George Weigel
- PennLive: “Mighty ideas from little seeds grow": Allison Dougherty
- Cumberlink: “Seed library to launch at Mechanicsburg Earth Day Festival”
- Cumberlink: "Department of Agriculture Cracks Down on Seed Libraries"
- Cumberlink: "Pa. department backs seed library protocol as reaction grows"
- abc27 WHTM - New Library Service Takes Root in Mechanicsburg
- abc27 WHTM - Pa. Stops Seed Swap at Mechanicsburg Library