Delta County Libraries offers many unexpected things: Colorado State Parks passes for checkout, downloadable music, college test proctoring, online continuing education classes, meeting spaces, and much more.
The availability of these resources may remain surprising to some patrons because, traditionally, when people think of libraries, they think of books. While each library does offer rows and rows of books, there are many other items and services that librarians want patrons to know about.
"The community's needs and interests are diverse and therefore so are the services and programs at Delta County Libraries," says Lea Hart, district director.
The Delta County Seed Library is a great example. It originated as a pilot program out of Hotchkiss Library in 2013 and has been steadily growing to reach patrons countywide.
"When the seed library first began, it was only available at Hotchkiss Library," says Sarah Smith, senior librarian. "Over time, we added seed cabinets to each library in the county and continued to add more and more seeds to our collection. The libraries have been working collaboratively to grow the program, prepare for the 2019 growing season, expand educational outreach, and develop partnerships with local people and organizations."
Although the time for planting seeds is still on the horizon, seed librarians across the county are busy tending to one of the most essential steps in the process: seed saving. Just as all plants start with a seed, all seed packages in the seed library start with tender loving care.
"This program is successful because of community support," says Smith. "Each seed packet is put together by hand. We rely on good attendance at our seed sorting parties in January to accomplish this huge task. We also rely on seed donations from local patrons to fill our seed library."
Seed-sorting events are a great way for seed enthusiasts, avid gardeners, and library supporters to help the Delta County Seed Library thrive.
"It is also a great way to escape the cold weather and dream about spring," Smith smiles. "We are hosting seed sorting parties in Cedaredge, Hotchkiss and Paonia to package the incoming seed donations to get them ready for spring checkouts."
The seed-sorting parties also mark the deadline for donating seeds to the 2019 seed library. The Paonia Library event is Thursday, Jan. 24, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The Cedaredge Library event is Thursday, Jan. 24, from 4 to 6 p.m., and the Hotchkiss Library event is Tuesday, Jan. 29, from 4 to 6 p.m.
Patrons are encouraged to attend all three events. No previous experience in seed saving or sorting is necessary. Patrons who have seeds to donate are encouraged to fill out a seed donation form online and bring the seeds to one of the seed-sorting events or drop them off at any library in Delta County during open hours.
For more information, visit www.deltalibraries.org.