Read & Grow
Using the Seed Library
Dec 7, 2:00pmJoel D Valdez Main Library
Seed Tips and Stories
The Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can borrow from to plant and grow at home. Our seed collection depends on donations and seasonality. You'll see different seeds available at different times, so check in frequently to see what's available.
Nine libraries have seed collections you can browse: List of locations. For all other Pima County Public Library locations, you can place holds from the catalog and have the seeds sent to you at the library of your choice.
Download our brochures How to Borrow Seeds from the Library and How to Share Seeds | Prestadas Lleve Semillas y Comparta Semillas.
You can browse seeds in person at any one of our seed library locations below.
You can also search our online catalogopens a new window and place seeds on reserve for pick-up at your local branch library. When using the online catalog, type “seed library” or the plant’s common name into the keyword search box to get a listing of all available seeds. You can add the planting month to your search, too! See more on that hereopens a new window.
Using your Seed Library couldn't be easier! Download the printable brochures below to have on hand.
Download the brochure Borrow Seeds from the Pima County Public Library to learn about:
- What's the Seed Library and why save seeds?
- All about choosing and borrowing seeds.
- How to save and share seeds from your garden!
- List of the PCPL Seed Libraries and other resources.
En español: Prestadas lleve semillas.
Download the brochure Share Seeds from the Pima County Public Library to learn about:
- Saving and sharing seeds
- Choosing seeds: Easy or Advanced
- Three ways to save seeds
- A gardening glossary and a list of the PCPL Seed Libraries
En español: Comparta semillas.
Your Pima County Public Library card is your key to borrowing seeds. You can check-out up to 10 packets of seeds per month, checking them out just as you would books, DVDs, and any other library materials, with one exception, there are never any late fees (overdue fines) with seeds! Seed Library locations.
When growing to save seed, please try to match the seed saving difficulty with your level of gardening experience.
Easy seeds are great for beginning seed savers. These plants are mostly self-pollinating, so the risk of cross-pollination is minimal (but not impossible). Saved properly, they are reliably the same as the parent plant.
Advanced seeds are better suited for more expert seed savers. These plants are cross-pollinating and are very likely to cross-pollinate with other plant varieties, which can result in "mystery" plants. Saving seeds from advanced plants requires special precautions such as hand pollination, tenting, and other methods to ensure varietal purity.
About the Seed Library
Welcome to the World of Saving and Sharing Seeds
The Seed Library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can borrow to plant and grow at home. By saving seeds as a community we help create local seed stocks that are better acclimated to our unique desert climate and which support an abundant and genetically diverse landscape. We support gardeners from beginner to expert, and help you learn how to grow, harvest, and save seeds.
Our seed collection depends on donations and seasonality. You'll see different seeds available at different times, so check in frequently to see what's available.
International Seed Library Forum
The Seed Library was proud to be a part of the first International Seed Library Forumopens a new window held in Tucson on May 3-5, 2015 where the Joint Resolution in Support of Seed Librariesopens a new window was adopted.
Thank you to our partners and donors!
Native Seeds/SEARCH, Community Food Bank, University of Arizona Bureau of Applied Research in Anthropology, and the UA Cooperative Extension Master Gardeners helped launch the Seed Library.
We also want to acknowledge the Seed Library trailblazers that inspired us, mentored us, and helped pave the way, most notably Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library and Westcliff Seed Lending Library.
The seeds that make up the collection have come to us through the generous donations of local and national seed companies, businesses, and individuals. We'd especially like to acknowledge Aravaipa Heirlooms, BBB Seeds, Botanical Interests, Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds, High Mowing Organic Seeds, Seed Savers Exchange, Garden Medicinals & Culinaries, Gardens of California, Southern Exposure Seed Exchange, and many, many more.