New Library Service Takes Root in Mechanicsburg

The Joseph T. Simpson Library in Mechanicsburg is well known for its extensive inventory of books, DVDs and CDs. And now, seeds. That’s right. It is now a library where patrons can borrow seeds.

Adult Services Director Rebecca Swanger says it works just like when borrowing books. From a recycled card catalog cabinet, library patrons can borrow vegetable, herb or ornamental seeds, plant them, let some of their crop go to seed, then return those seeds for others to borrow. The idea “sprouted” from the Cumberland County Commission for Women who provided “seed” money to launch the program.

“People have been really excited to have this opportunity to borrow seeds,” said Swanger. “That way they don’t have to purchase a whole packet of seeds and end up not using a lot of them”

Fresh from borrowing lettuce, carrots and broccoli, library regular Jen Vogelsong joked that this was her first time burying something she got from the library. She started with tiny broccoli seeds.

“We’ll see how it turns out,” said Vogelsong, troweling a small hole in her garden bed. ” I have a black thumb, but I figured it’s worth a shot. I love home grown veggies.”

Next up, Vogelsong buried a handful of circus carrot seeds. “My nieces like to help me in the garden and I thought it would be cool to have carrots that are white and purple in addition to orange.”

Harvesting seeds from crops can be tricky, even for experienced gardeners. So, if patrons run into trouble, they can simply return store bought packets of organic heirloom seeds.

“I just like the idea of people growing things in their back yard and having fresh food to cook with with their family,” said Vogelsong.

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