What is the the IUPUI Seed Library?
In 2019, the Indiana University–Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI) Library received a three-year grant from the IUPUI Office of Sustainability to start a seed library for faculty, staff, students, and community users (University Library is an academic library that also serves Marion County residents). The IUPUI seed library is the first seed library within an Indiana academic library that is free and available to all users, and one of only seven in the entire United States.
The Seed Library is a collection of heirloom, open-pollinated, non-GMO herb seeds that any user can borrow (IUPUI faculty, IUPUI staff, IUPUI students, Marion County residents and IU affiliates) to place at home for their personal use. The idea is that users will grow their herbs, flowers, and vegetables and then save some of those seeds to return to the seed library.
The IUPUI Seed Library started with the intention to:
- Educate the IUPUI community on gardening, especially in small spaces;
- Collaborate with campus departments, student groups, and off-campus groups in creative ways;
- And involve students in programming.
Evolution of the IUPUI Seed Library:
In the first year, the Seed Library offered herb seeds, and collaborated with IUPUI Campus Gardens for a workshop on seed saving and free compost for a student planting event.
In the second year, the library was expanded to offer beneficial flowers and vegetables, in addition to herbs. We collaborated with IUPUI Student Affairs to offer dormitory residents a chance to plant seeds for their residence hall windowsills, and the Hancock County Master Gardener Association to offer a workshop on container gardening.
When COVID caused the IUPUI campus and library to close to the public, we creatively turned our service into a mail-in service! Users fill out a survey with the seeds they want, why they want to grow them, and what type of environment they live in. With the mail-in service, our seed library mailed out 300 requests to 60 cities in Indiana, which is thousands of seed packets going out all over the state! (Your friendly Greenfield mailer learned about a lot of cool little towns in the process.)
Year three Seed Library offerings will soon be determined, and will most likely be a hybrid service of year 1 and 2.
Find the latest information about the IUPUI seed library at https://iupui.libguides.com/seedlibrary
Article Courtesy of Alicia S. Añino, Master Gardener Intern (Hancock County)