As spring nears, it’s a great time to start thinking about what plants to grow in your garden and what seeds can be sourced from Omaha Public Library's (OPL) Common Soil Seed Library, opens a new window!
OPL cardholders have embraced the seed library, which was established in 2013. In 2019 alone, use increased by 31 percent over 2018, boosted by the addition of a fourth Common Soil collection at Millard Branch.
Paul Christopherson, OPL’s urban gardening librarian, has also worked to distribute seeds to other OPL locations, so that they may be displayed for patrons to browse and take home on the spot. Cardholders may check out up to 10 seed packets from the Common Soil Seed Library each month. Seeds do not need to be returned and are not subject to library fines and fees.
Varieties of vegetables, fruits, flowers, and herbs can be viewed and placed on hold in OPL's online catalog, opens a new window. Germination information and planting instructions are available for each seed type at the seed library locations, or by request at any branch help desk. Patrons may also suggest that OPL purchase any seed varieties that aren’t stocked, either in person at any location or on the Suggest a Purchase, opens a new window page.
In addition to seeds, OPL also has several books, DVDs and even online courses about gardening available to browse on the Common Soil Seed Library webpage, opens a new window.
Christopherson encourages patrons to look through the full selection of seeds and to give growing plants from seeds a try this year, even if gardening is new to them. “You never know, people might learn they have a green thumb,” Christopherson said.
Gardeners are advised to read the growing instructions carefully, as some plants must be started earlier in the year to reach their full maturity by growing season. If anyone would like help with garden planning in person, Christopherson encourages them to visit him at Benson Branch or email firstname.lastname@example.org, opens a new window to schedule a meeting.