The seasons control many schedules as people living in Colorado adjust to cold and hot extremes, snow, mud, wind and more. Some seasonal activities are obvious and expected, like skiing, gardening and boating. However, the fact that the seasons strongly affect areas of library administration can be surprising.
For example, Delta County Libraries' three-year-old seed library is starting to establish a definite yearly cycle which keeps staff especially busy at certain times of the year. Seed donations come in during the fall and early winter. Staff and volunteers package, label and catalog the seeds in late winter, then seeds become available to the public in early March and continue to check out into the summer. Seed-saving classes take place later in the summer, and the pattern starts again as patrons harvest produce and collect seeds.
Each year, the seed library's success has grown as more and more patrons discover the merits of checking out heirloom seeds to plant. Hotchkiss Library staff member Sarah Pope has been given the title Seed Librarian, for her role in getting the seed library up and running smoothly, as well as her understanding of its necessary work cycle. She says, "I am continually surprised by how many people still haven't heard about the seed library, and how excited they are when they find out."
Pope explains that seed library users are not required to save seeds. Patrons can check out up to ten seed packets a month without returning anything, but they are encouraged to try saving easy varieties, both to learn how the process works and to help keep library shelves stocked for future years.
With a surplus of seeds and a lot of enthusiasm for planting, some libraries are offering simple seed planting opportunities. Patrons of all ages can visit the Cedaredge Library any time it is open through the end of March to plant a seed in a little pot to take home. The same type of program will take place at the Hotchkiss Library during the first week of April. Pope also has a class planned at the Hotchkiss Library for Tuesday, April 26, where interested patrons can find out more about the seed library and how to design a garden with seed saving in mind.
There is no need to wait until the end of April to learn more about the seed library, however. Seeds are now available in all Delta County Libraries, and staff members are happy to share information on how the process works, help patrons find the seeds they need, and collect seeds for the next cycle.