Seed Library Information

Your Guide to the Ely Seed Lending Library

Ely Public Library
1595 Dows St.
Ely, IA 52227

About Us:
            The Ely Seed Library was founded in March of 2012 to promote the sharing of non-hybrid seeds within the eastern Iowa community.

Our Mission:
Our mission is to build our community through the sharing of open pollinated seeds, provide education on seed saving techniques, and create a forum for discourse on the relevancy of local food systems to our community.

How it works:
 Seeds are borrowed at the beginning of the season, grown out, and a portion of the new crop of seeds can be returned to the library for other community members to use the following year.

Seed Library F.A.Q
Q: Does it cost money to check out seeds from the seed library?
A: No, the seed library is free for anyone with an Ely Public Library card (those are free too!).

Q: How many seeds can I take?
A: Take 2-3 seeds for each plant you wish to grow to account for variable germination rates.  Envelopes are provided, so you only take as many seeds as you need and leave the rest of the package for other gardeners.

Q:  Can I donate flower or veggie seeds from my own garden?
A: Absolutely. You can drop off your seeds or mail them to us.  Let us know as much as you can about the variety and seed saving technique. We would also like to hear if the seeds have a story (e.g. seeds were brought from your grandparents from Italy).

Q: Is it difficult to save seeds?
A: It depends on the plant.  Some seeds such as beans and lettuce are very easy to save.  Some plants such as broccoli need to be “bagged” or isolated in order to make sure the seeds will breed true.  We will be offering handouts and classes as we go along if you want to learn more about it.

Q: Do I have to save seeds if I borrow some?
A: No.  At this time it is not a requirement, but seed saving is fun and rewarding and will help keep the seed library stocked for others to use.

Q: How do I sign up?
A: Fill out a Patron Sign Up Form at the library and you will be ready to browse through our seed collection.

How to Get Involved:

·         Contact or stop in the Ely Public Library to find out more about becoming a seed saving member. 

·         Find out more about getting a community garden plot by contacting Bob at

·         Donate your time, expertise, or materials to the Ely Seed Library.  Stop by the Ely Public to find out what you can do.

The success of the Ely Seed Library depends on contributions and support from individuals, organizations, and businesses. Donations made to the Ely Public Library are tax deductible. Donations can be mailed to or dropped off at:
Ely Public Library
Attn: Seed Library
P.O. Box 249
1595 Dows St.
Ely, IA 52227

Co-Founders and Coordinators

Ali Alldredge
Ali moved to Ely in 2007.  When she is not gardening, running, or chauffeuring kids around, she is involved with the Ely Farmers Market, Ely Public Library, and Ely Community Gardens.

Melissa Sharapova
Melissa is a Permaculture Landscape Designer specializing in Edible Food Forests.  She works with Backyard Abundance of Iowa City and the Ely Public Library.

Sarah Sellon
Sarah is the director of the Ely Public Library. 

Find us on Facebook:

The Ely Seed Library would like to thank our generous sponsors who have made this project possible:

·         High Mowing Seeds
·         University of Iowa Community Credit Union
·         Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds
·         Diane’s Flower Seeds
·         Rapid Reproductions of Cedar Rapids
·         Sandhill Preservation
·         Territorial Seeds
·         Seed Savers Exchange in Decorah

Supporting organizations

·         We are part of the Ely Public Library
·         The Ely Farmers Market
·         Ely Community Gardens
·         Sister seed libraries including Richmond Grows which have provided valuable free materials and information on starting a seed library.

No comments:

Post a Comment