Now on loan at your library branch: Books, DVDs and… seeds

Mallory Smith, Special to the Reporter
Jun. 12, 2014

Your local library branch is your go-to place for books, DVDs, and, now— in some Boston’s neighborhoods— seeds for the garden.

A trend that has made its mark across the country has hit Boston this summer as BPL branches in Mattapan East Boston and Grove Hall now allow users to borrow “a diverse array of seeds, get trained on basic gardening skills, and learn how to dry out and return seeds,” all donated by Boston Natural Areas Network. The seed-share sites, also known as seed libraries, allow participants to “take-out” up to five packets of seeds. They are then asked to return new seeds after they have produced a healthy, thriving, plant.

Caren Rosales, who works as a teen librarian at the Mattapan Library is very happy with the turn out this new program has received.

“Workshops are very well attended,” said Rosales. “In our first workshop in April we had about thirty people” who were “very, very excited.”

“People come back telling me how their garden has started to grow,” said Rosales.

Greenovate Boston, the Boston Public Library, Office of Food Initiative, and the Boston Natural Areas Network have teamed up to launch the pilot “Seed Starting Workshop.”

You might be thinking to yourself: “What if I don’t know how to garden?” Don’t worry, all three participating libraries have got you covered. On Saturday, June 14 the Mattapan Library will host a garden maintenance workshop from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. On September 24, they will be hosting a seed saving workshop. All workshops are free. On July 26th from 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. the East Boston Library will be holding a seed saving workshop and the Grove Hall Library will also be hosting the same workshop on August 2, 10 a.m. to 12 p.m. To register email to or call 617-542-7696.