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Kenan Science Library Makerspace: Seed Library

What is a seed library?

A seed library is an organized collection of seeds from which users may “check out” small amounts to take home and plant. Since returning them later as with books and other traditional library media would be quite impossible, patrons may instead “return” borrowed seeds by saving and donating some from the plants grown from their initial borrowed sample.

Seeds are a form of information, and seed libraries are often housed in public, academic, and school libraries. They often prioritize collection of local and heirloom seed varieties over hybrid ones more commonly commercially available. 

The Seed Library at UNC-Chapel Hill is located in the Kenan Science Library Makerspace. Seeds, books, and related tools are available for borrowing. The Seed Library offers an assortment of open-pollinated vegetable, ornamental, and herb varieties. 

Mission Statement

The Kenan Science Library Makerspace Seed Library operates as a free-to-use, hands-on educational resource to enable the UNC-Chapel Hill community to learn about gardening, seed-saving, and native plant life. The Seed Library strives to provide users with the materials and informational resources necessary to get started with home gardening, and to preserve via circulation varieties of heirloom and native plants.

Community Resources

More Media

Seed Library Video

Recommended Reading

Where is the Seed Library?

The Seed Library at UNC-Chapel Hill is located in the Kenan Science Library Makerspace, on the ground floor of Venable Hall near the courtyard. It's right next to the 3D printers!

Seed Library FAQ

When are you open?

  • The Seed Library is open during regular Kenan Science Library hours. Visit the UNC Libraries website for updated hours. 

What is the borrowing process?

  • There is no formal checkout process and no need to visit the library desk. Just take the packet(s) of seeds you’d like and please note which one(s) on the clipboard sheet by the library. Please limit your selection to five (5) or fewer envelopes total as we have limited quantities of each type.

Do I need to return the seeds? Aren't I going to plant them? How does this work?

  • Nope! We appreciate and accept donations, but the Seed Library is first and foremost a hands-on educational resource, and learning to save seeds can be tricky at first. There is no requirement or obligation to return leftover seeds or those of the next generation from your plants that have gone to seed, but it is always appreciated. Bringing in your leftover or saved seeds helps us maintain the collection for future users. 

What if I have some seeds to donate?

  • If you do have some seeds to donate, please take a blank donation sheet and fill out the information label as completely as you can, and take the sheet with your seeds to the desk. Don’t worry if some fields are left blank. Thank you!

How do I save seeds? What does this mean?

  • Seed saving means allowing some of the plants you grow to go to seed, and then harvesting and preserving some of those seeds for the next growing season. Seed-saving technique varies by type of plant. Check out the books and other resources listed in this guide for more information about saving seeds.