Beyond Books: CPL Seed Library

What is a seed library?

A seed library is a collection of open-pollinated and heirloom seeds that you can “borrow” to plant and grow at home. Our collection includes non-genetically modified (non-GMO) vegetable, flower, and herb seeds.

How does a seed lending library work?

Gardeners borrow seeds from the library at planting time. At the end of the growing season, they save seeds from the plants grown from the original seeds and return a portion of the seeds collected to the library for use the following year. Here is how you can participate:

  1. Browse our seed catalog binder at the library or view the list below.
  2. Choose which seeds you would like to “checkout” from the collection and fill out a Seed Request Form. Forms are available near the seed catalog binder at the library, or you can download and print one.
  3. Bring the Seed Request Form to the Information Desk to pick up your seeds.
  4. Grow, harvest, save, and share the seeds with the library for next year!

How many packets of seeds can I borrow?

There is limit of three (3) packets of seeds per Crete Public Library card in good standing. If you do not have a library card, you can find more information about obtaining one here. Sorry, our seeds are only available to Crete cardholders at this time, but that could change based on demand, so check with the Info Desk if you have a card from another library.

Our seed collection depends on donations and seasonality.

Do I have to return seeds?

There is no obligation to save and return seeds, especially if you’re new to seed saving. As you grow as a gardener and a seed saver, we hope that you will consider sharing your seeds with our seed library community.

How do I return seeds to the library?

Follow these easy steps:

  1. Collect and clean seeds from your crops and set some aside for yourself and some for the library.
  2. Clearly label your donation in an envelope or container. You can pick up Seed Donation Forms at the library, or download and print some here.
  3. Bring your labeled seeds to the Crete Public Library Information Desk, and we’ll add them to the collection for other community members to checkout.

I don’t need seeds. Can I donate seeds to the library anyway?

Absolutely! Donations are welcome. In order the become sustainable, donations from your garden are encouraged. Please follow the instructions above and bring your donations to the library. This will ensure that the library has accurate information about the seeds. Always choose healthy and disease-free crops for donations. Donated seeds will be added to the collection at the library staff’s discretion.

Please contact the Information Desk at 708-672-8017 or with additional questions about our seed library.

Additional Seed Library Offerings

In addition to the actual seeds, gardening tools and soil analyzers are available to borrow from the library’s Beyond Books Collection to help get you started and to enhance your enjoyment of gardening. And of course, the library has many gardening-related books to further your knowledge!


Available Seeds

More to come!


Basil, Genovese Lavender, Vera Peppermint
Chives Lemon Balm Rosemary
Chives, Garlic Mint, Common Sage, Broadleaf
Cilantro Oregano, Italian Thyme, German
Dill, Bouquet Parsley, Italian Giant


Arugula, Roquet Corn, Reid’s Pepper, California Wonder
Beans, Contender (bush) Cucumber, Straight Eight Radish, Champion
Beet, Detroit Dark Red Eggplant, Black Beauty Spinach, Bloomsdale
Beans, Kentucky Wonder (pole) Kale, Blue Scotch Swiss Chard, Fordhook
Broccoli, Waltham 29 Kale Siberian Tomato, Marglobe
Cabbage, Copenhagen Market Lettuce, Parris Island Cos Tomato, Roma
Carrot, Chantenay Red Cored Onion, Yellow Sweet Spanish Utah Zucchini, Black Beauty
Cauliflower, Snowball Early Peas, Oregon Sugar Pod


Black-eyed Susan Lupine Sunflowers