Fine Free in '23!

RIPL cardholders now have fine-free lending status. For questions about this new policy, please see the How Do I  section, or click the Fine Free Policy box to read our post on this exclusive benefit for RIPL cardholders! 

Seed Library

Person browsing RIPL seed library drawers

About the Seed Library

The Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can borrow to plant and grow at home. By saving seeds as a community, we help create locally adapted plant varieties and preserve genetic diversity.

The Seed Library is open during the growing season, usually March-early September. As of September 26, 2022, it is closed for the season. 

How to Use the Seed Library

Using the Seed Library is easy!

  1. Pick out the seeds you would like to plant.
    • Take up to 5 different seed packets per family per month.
    • Please do not take all the same variety of seeds—leave some for others to enjoy!
  2. Take your seeds home and plant them.
  3. If you are able, consider saving some seeds from your mature plants and donating them back to the seed library.
  4. If you are a Rock Island/Milan-area resident, you may use our Seeds by Mail form available from March-August.


Seed Library FAQs

The Seed Library is at the Reference desk at the Downtown Library and is available March through September.

No, you do not need to return seeds to the library. There is no obligation to save and return seeds, especially if you’re new to seed saving. As you grow as a gardener and a seed saver, we hope that you will consider sharing your seeds with the Seed Library community.

The Seed Library is free to use and there are no late fees or replacement costs. No library card is required to use the Seed Library. 

Supplies and varieties vary, but the collection usually includes vegetables, herbs, flowers, and fruits. To check what seeds are currently available stop by to browse! Seeds are available while supplies last.

Seed donations are welcome all year round. Please see a Reference Librarian at the Downtown Library for envelopes and labels.

The Seed Library is not yet available for the 2023 growing season. We will reintroduce this resource when growing conditions are more favorable, usually early Spring. Watch this page, library email newsletters,and our social media sites for announcements of when seeds are ready.