Readers can now cultivate new talents

The Urbana Free Library launches seed lending library. The project consists of checking out seeds and bring back new seeds from one’s harvest. There are over 40 kinds of vegetable seeds and many varieties within them. There are also herbs and flower seeds to check out. Flower seeds’ varieties are as abundant as vegetables’.

How it works is, when you lend the seeds from the library, you plant them, grow the plants, let some go to seed, and then return some of these next-generation seeds for others to borrow, as stated on the library’s website. And for those who might not be able to return the seeds for any reason, they can simply purchase new ones from a store; it is acceptable and there are no fines applied for doing so. When you return the seeds, they will be repackaged and next spring, others will restart the same process again.

The Urbana Free Library book shelf

The project is in partnership with the City of Urbana, Land Recycling Center, and Urbana Park District. The program was supposed to launch last year in March but was postponed because of COVID-19. So, for this year, the library had to rearrange the whole project following when people usually tend to start planting seeds, which is February. The check-out is free. You don’t have to have a library card and you don’t have to live in Urbana-Champaign.

The project is also accompanied by gardening books for newbies in gardening as well as for experts for a refresher or improvement. Besides that, there are also cooking books that go along with gardening. There is also an entire seed webpage on the library’s website for more resources.

Individuals are encouraged to email the library with a list of seeds they would like. Once they receive a confirmation email that their seeds are ready, they can call the library for a curbside pickup appointment.

To return or donate seeds, they must be sealed in a plastic bag along with specific information about the seed on a piece of paper. The seeds can be dropped in the black drop box located on the upper level of Green st lobby.

Bénie Yenyi

Bénédicte “Bénie” Yenyi Mulumba is a senior majoring in journalism with a minor in political science. She's currently a member of UI7 Live and a researcher in political science department. She was an intern at the China Post when studying abroad in Taiwan. She worked as a news reporter for the Daily Illini, as a writer for Her Campus student-magazine and as an editor for The Spectator - which is Heartland Community College’s magazine. She’s a member of the Black journalists of Illinois chapter and a member of UNICEF. Bénie is fluent in French, English, and Lingala. She’s aspiring to be an international reporter and work with international organizations.