Free Seed Library now available at Waldo Library

Contact: Sara Volmering
seed packet

Waldo Library now offers a Seed Library, which can be helpful to new gardeners or growers with limited space.

KALAMAZOO, Mich.—The University Libraries is growing something new this spring—a Seed Library for the Western Michigan University community. Starting Monday, April 1, Western students, employees and community members can pick up free seeds from Waldo Library to grow at home.

Seed libraries may be especially helpful to new gardeners or growers with limited space, such as those living in dorms or apartments. Instead of purchasing more seeds than they have space to grow, library users can take a small quantity of seeds from the Seed Library cabinet located on Waldo Library’s first floor.

With warmer weather on the horizon, it’s the perfect time for home gardeners to start preparing their pots, planters and plots and starting their seeds. The Seed Library will offer 57 varieties of vegetables, flowers, herbs and other seeds to choose from.

“There’s something incredibly rewarding about sitting down to a meal with food you grew yourself, even if it’s just simple lettuce and herbs from a kitchen windowsill,” says Mary O’Kelly, associate dean of education and user services.

O’Kelly worked with a passionate team of supporters to collect free seed donations and package them to be shared with community growers.

“Seed libraries are intended to support sustainable agriculture, build social systems around food security, and share cultural knowledge about food sources and traditional gardening practices.”

Seed libraries have grown extensively in public libraries over the past decade. In 2023, there were over 200 libraries in the Michigan Seed Library Network’s “One Seed, One State” program, but only a few were housed at universities.

Libraries are natural homes for seed libraries due to their ability to organize, preserve and facilitate access to resources—even something unique as a packet of radish seeds.

In addition to providing seeds, the University Libraries has also curated numerous resources to help new gardeners get started. Educational programming on seed saving and native plants will also be offered later this year.

“This is our first year and we intend to grow the seed library and accompanying educational programming with the help of the WMU community. Everyone is welcome to try their hand with seeds.”

For more information, visit the Seed Library webpage. Western students and employees may also learn more on the Seed Library @ WMU Libraries Teams channel.

For more WMU news, arts and events, visit WMU News online.