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Promoting growth: ‘Seed library’ offers hands-on learning

Photo provided to the Times Observer A look at the Seed Library at the Sheffield Township Library.

Sometimes a library is about more than just books.

At Sheffield Township Library, that’s taken the form of a Seed Library.

“The seed offerings include a variety of fruits, vegetables, and flowers and are available to anyone with a free library card,” Library Director Christine Porter said.

Volunteers from the Barber National Institute helped organize, sort and prepare the seeds.

“People are welcome to bring in seeds that they have to grow our collection and also pick up seeds they want or need,” she added.

Each library patron can pick up to six packets of seeds.

The seed packets — about 500 in total — were donated from High Mowing Seed Co. Hudson Valley Seed Co, Baker Creek Heirloom Seed Co. and True Leaf Market.

Porter said the idea came from her prior library experience in Vermont.

“The Seed Library was a very successful offering there and something people looked forward to each year. It’s something a lot of libraries are doing,” she said.

“It’s a great way to get people thinking about the food we put in our bodies and to have access to something healthy with very little cost involved. All you need is some space, some water, and a little bit of time and effort.”

The Seed Library also opens the door for various education programming centered around gardening.

A recent children’s storytime event included a planting activity and Porter said that kids and teens can come to the library on April 1 at noon and April 15 at 10 a.m. “and create their own seed starting kit using recycled materials.”

Registration for those events is required and parents can register their children by calling the library at (814) 968-3439 or by emailing librarian@sheffieldlibrary.org.

“The Seed Library is truly a community effort,” Porter said. “The Library hopes that this hands-on activity will instill an early love of gardening as kids can be involved in the process every step of the way.”

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