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Seed Library

The Etna Library's Seed Library is a community project that connects patrons with a wide variety of free seeds that can be taken, grown, and shared. Seeds are available to browse in the library's card-catalog-style cabinet. 

All seed is donated to the library by individuals and organizations such as the Hanover Conservancy, the Hanover Garden Club, and Seed Savers. Please see below for information on how you can help with donations.

Seed Library card catalog
Green Pastures

How the Program Works

A sapling growing

1. Browse the collection in person at the Etna Library and select the seeds you want to take home. Our new seeds are organized alphabetically. Seeds remaining from last year are organized first by type (vegetable, herb, flower, fruit) then labeled and stored alphabetically. 


2. You can take up to 2 seed packages a week from the new seeds and up to 8 packages a week from our older seeds. Cross off the type of newer seed packets you take from the inventory sheet. If you take any older seed packets, write your last name and the total number of packets you're taking on the sign-out sheet.


3. Plant and enjoy!


4. The seeds are completely free. You're not borrowing them - however, please do consider saving some seeds from what you grow to share back with the library. (See the 'Donating Seeds' instructions below).

Featured Seeds

Three tomatoes in a basket


Nothing says summer like a homegrown tomato! Plant this warm season crop in a full sun garden bed.

A beautiful sunflower


Sunflower seedlings grow quickly and add a little life and color to your yard or home garden. See below for specific instructions.

Fresh basil


Basil is an annual herb that is most often green in color. It has a fragrant, sweet smell and peppery taste. It grows to between 30-60 centimeters tall.

Growing Instructions

See the links below for growing instructions. You can also browse our Growing Instructions Binder at the library. 

[These are for the library's older seeds, only. The newer seeds come in their original packets, with instructions included.]

Seed Library Growing Notes:

More Resources:

The Seed Savers Exchange website is also a valuable source for gardening and seed saving information.

A close-up photo of the veins on a green leaf

Donating Seeds

Wheat seeds

All seeds in our collection are donated by individuals, organizations and businesses. Consider donating seeds or bringing some seeds back to share with others.

We happily accept the following:

  • Commercial seed packages, unopened or leftover.

  • Seed you have harvested yourself that is clean and dry.

  • Seeds for vegetables, flowers, herbs, trees, shrubs, and native species.


We cannot accept:

  • Genetically modified seed

  • Seeds from invasive species


Where possible, we prefer open-pollinated seed, since hybrid seed does not save true to type, and is not as useful for a seed library. We also encourage you to grow your seeds using organic gardening methods.

How to donate:


Place seed in a sealable bag and hand to staff at the circulation desk. For seed you have collected yourself, or bulk seed, we ask that you also fill out a donation form with details about the seeds. You can print the form from our website, or ask staff to print one for you.

We also accept monetary donations towards the operation of the Seed Library.

Thank you for your help with this important program! Happy growing!

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