EVERETT — The antique cabinet used to be full of cards to help patrons find books in the library.
Now, the card catalog’s miniature drawers have a new purpose: a home for dozens of free seed packets for patrons to “borrow” and plant in their gardens.
It’s called the Un-Bee-Leaf-Able Seed Library, the invention of a group of librarians at the Everett Public Library.
There’s drawers for veggies, fruits, herbs and flowers, alphabetically arranged. You’ll find seeds for beans, cucumber, kale, snapdragon, squash and much more.
There’s also a donation box. Borrowers are encouraged to donate back their seeds after they grow a crop.
“Everett has such a great community of avid gardeners, and I thought it would be popular,” said librarian Lynsey Sharp, who came up with the idea.
The seed library opened last month on the second floor of the library’s main branch, 2702 Hoyt Ave. The Everett Co-Op Supply, local farms, and library staff donated seeds to get it started.
“We’ve gotten so many different types of seeds,” Sharp said.
Open a drawer and find something unique, like a packet of seeds for “red Swedish soup peas.”
Aarene Storms, youth services librarian, said the project is part of her “quest to produce food at the library.” This summer, she worked with a group of kids to plant corn, beans and squash on the library’s balcony.
She said the hope is to expand the garden and grow and harvest seeds for the Un-Bee-Leaf-Able Seed Library.
Storms is also pleased to see a piece of library history repurposed.
“I’ve had my eye on the card catalog for ten years,” she said.
For aspiring gardeners, the library periodically sponsors courses from the Snohomish County Master Gardeners. This fall, it hosted a series on soil, herbs, pollinators and seed saving.
You don’t need a library to “check out” or “check in” seeds. Simply fill out a form at the computer station next to the seed library. Patrons are limited to checking out five packets per season.
All kinds of seeds are accepted, including home-grown and commercial varieties.
More information at epls.org/SeedLibrary.