Usually, a library is a place where all sorts of the written literature can be checked out and enjoyed in the quiet moments of the day.
However, there is a new initiative at the Cranbrook Public Library where people can take some knowledge and apply it directly — specifically to their gardens.
The library, in partnership with the Cranbrook Garden Club, has started up a seed library — a bank of seeds that members of both the library and the garden club can sign out and plant in their gardens. Seeds from those plants can then be harvested at the end of the season and donated back to the seed library.
Just a small sampling of those seeds include Calendula, Canna Lilly, double pink poppies, Wild PEI Lupins, Purple Sweet Peas, Pink Lavatera and Baptista false indigo.
The seed library is borrowed from libraries in other areas, but the idea isn’t new.
“For libraries, so often libraries with books, and the fact is that you hear a lot of talk these days about the sharing economy,” said Ursula Brigl, the chief librarian with the Cranbrook Public Library. “Well, we’ve been doing that since before it was a catchphrase.
“Different types of libraries, we’ve always had collections of different types of things, as the concept of the sharing economy has really developed and grown, we’ve looked at how libraries can do what they’ve always been doing in new and interesting ways.”
Libraries in Creston and Grand Forks have done something similar; Grand Forks’ library has mason jars with seeds in them and people could help themselves to the seeds.
In a nod back to the days of yore before Google searches and the Internet, the seeds are stored in an old index-card catalogue.
“We have a variety of seeds in there that people harvest from their gardens in the fall and donate,” said Linda Muraro, the president of the Cranbrook Garden Club.
Adds Brigl: “I guess it’s a good way for people who otherwise might be hesitant of trying out some plants to experiment with and because they’re from gardens in this area, you know they’re actually going to grow here.”
The idea of lending out more than just books isn’t new either, as the library has a cake-pan collection where people can sign out a particular baking pan and return when finished when their baking is done.
Brigl also made mention of a tool-lending library that was set up after wildfires tore through California, that residents used to repair and rebuild their homes.
“In other libraries, they’ve tried it where they have a tool-lending library and that actually started down in California after the fires went through there,” Brigl said.
“There were people who hadn’t had a need for power tools in their lives that needed to do some repairs to their house and they didn’t want to buy a power tool just for a one-time thing, so they set up a tool-lending library.”
The Cranbrook Garden Club is busy getting going for the spring season with projects throughout the community leading up to their Open Garden Day Tour on Sunday, July 10th.