Seed Library

“If you have a garden and a library you have everything you need.” – CiceroGCC Seed Library - A collaborative effort between the Greenfield Community College Science Department and the Nahman-Watson Library

What is a seed library?

photo of raised planting beds in GCC garden
A seed library lends or shares seeds with local growers. Patrons can, but are not required to,
return collected seeds to the library at the end of the growing season for future distribution. The
benefits of seeds libraries are many, and depending on the focus of the library, may include:

  • Preservation of food crop and flower varieties through propagation and seed sharing
  • Cultivation of food crop and flower varieties that thrive in local ecologies
  • Contributions to agricultural biodiversity, with a focus on regional, local, and/or heirloom seed varieties
  • Preservation of open pollinated varieties of fruits and vegetables
  • Local production of nutritious foods, lessening dependence on large agribusiness
  • Attraction of pollinators such as bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds

Seed libraries are not only an agricultural idea but also a cultural one: a vision of a community that
values sharing resources and expertise without thinking of profit.

The GCC Seed Library

The GCC Seed Library was launched in the spring of 2015, before many local
libraries had seed libraries. It was the brainchild of librarian Hope Schneider and science faculty Anthony Reiber, with startup money provided by both the library and the SAGE program (Sustainable Agriculture and Green Energy) under the science department.

As part of starting the seed library, librarians and Reiber toured the seed library at Hampshire College, a project launched by one of their students. Student interns from the science department and the library helped (and continue to help) select, package, and label seeds, as well as to create informational brochures and signage. Initially open to GCC students and staff only, the seed library is now open to anyone from the community.

How does it work?


The GCC Seed Library is located on display shelves near the north entrance of the Nahman-Watson Library.
Anyone can patronize the Seed Library.

  1. Patrons select seeds from drawers. Patrons may select as many varieties as they like but may only take one packet, per variety.
  2. Patrons fill out a borrower form (paper or online). Paper forms should be turned in at the Circulation Desk. Patrons can opt to receive periodic emails containing announcements about new seed varieties and workshops, seed collection instructions, and callouts for voluntary progress reports.
  3. Patrons are invited to return clean, saved seeds to the library. These seeds will be made available during the next growing season. Seeds should be returned in a clearly labeled (name and date seeds were collected) envelope or container. Returning seeds is not required.
What seeds are available?

General questions, comments, and/or suggestions? Swing into the library or email reference@gcc.mass.edu. Questions relating to planting, growing, and/or harvesting seeds? Contact Tony Reiber, Natural Resources Special Program Coordinator, reibera@gcc.mass.edu.