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. Watch this page for more details. 

How to Use the Seed Library

Using the Seed Library is easy!

  1. Pick out the seeds you would like to plant from our Seed Library drawers at the Downtown Library.
    • 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.  Can't get Downtown? Pre-selected seed bundles will be available at library branches. (One bundle per family per month. Bundles already contain 5 varieties of seeds.) 


Seed Library FAQs

The main Seed Library is at the Reference desk at the Downtown Library and is available March through September. Preselected seed bundles will also be available at the Rock Island Southwest and Watts-Midtown branches. Please take only one bundle per family per month. 

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.