How To Save A Public Library: Make It A Seed Bank. A small town library is ‘saved’ with a clever, resident run seed bank. NPR presents this as a clever solution to the problem of one shrinking library.
There about 120,000 libraries in the US. I agree that diversifying services (to an extent) is always good for any system (diversity is the essence of adaptation). What really needs to happen is for libraries to analyze who they serve and consolidate or close systems where necessary.
Still, it’s a nice little story that warms hearts on a cold winters day.
Here’s how it works: A library card gets you a packet of seeds. You then grow the fruits and vegetables, harvest the new seeds from the biggest and best, and return those seeds so the library can lend them out to others.
Syson says tending a garden in Western Colorado can be frustrating. The dry climate, alkaline soils and short growing season keep many novices from starting. She’ll take seeds from the plants that withstand pests and persevere through drought.
"If you save seed from those plants, already, in one generation, you will now be able to grow a plant that has those traits," Syson says.
The seed packets are a novelty within the library’s more mainstream collection of books, CDs and DVDs.
The library’s director, Barbara Milnor, says in the age of digital, downloadable books and magazines, the tangible seed packets are another way to draw people in.