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 March 9, 2023, seeds are available. 

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 2023 Seed Library season starts March 9! Seeds available while supplies last or until the end of the growing season, likely later in September. You may select your seeds in person at the Rock Island Public Library Downtown, 401 19th Street, during regular hours. In-person pickups are available to anyone. Seed availability is while supplies last. We do not guarantee availability of specific varieties or types of seeds.

Rock Island and Milan-area residents of the Milan-Blackhawk Area Public Library District only may request seeds by mail. To request mail delivery, please use the form linked below. 

Seed Library Order Form