Update to the Seed Library procedure: the Seed Library display is still available to browse, but the actual seed packets are now kept behind the 2nd Floor Information Desk. Browse the display as usual, then request your choice of seeds from our staff at the desk.
The Mountain View Public Library maintains an ever-changing collection of seeds for you to grow at home. The seeds are free and available to anyone. The seed library is built on seed donations from the community. You don’t need to donate seeds to take seeds home.
You may visit the Seed Library in person during the Library's open hours, or you may request seeds online for pick-up later.
Step 1: View our current seed inventory. A new inventory is typically posted every Tuesday.
Step 2: Contact us to reserve your choice of seeds.
Limit: five packets of seeds per household per week; one packet of any individual variety of seed per household, per week.
Step 3: After you have been notified that your seeds are ready, you may pick them up at the 2nd Floor Information Desk when the Library is open.
We focus on heirloom, organic, non-GMO seeds; popular vegetables; California native wildflowers; and plants that attract pollinators like bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds; plus whatever our generous community donates.
Our inventory is always changing, according to planting season and what we have on hand. Some seeds come from commercial growers. Others come from plants grown by neighborhood gardeners; hence, caveat hortulanus.
There are roughly 9-15 seeds per packet. If the seeds are small, there might be even more in the packet--sometimes a lot more. We include the growing instructions from the original grower, when available. As our seed supply is limited, we encourage you to save the seeds from the plants you harvest in order to grow more plants for yourself, or to donate back to the Seed Library.
We welcome your donations of seeds saved from the plants you’ve grown, or leftover seeds from commercial packets you’ve bought. New to seed saving? Pick up our beginner-friendly brochure to help yourself get started.
You may drop off your donations at the 2nd Floor Information Desk. Please fill out our brief seed donation form at the desk, which includes the name/variety, and growing instructions if you have them.
Seeds should be clean, already separated from the plant, and bagged to prevent the introduction of any garden pests into our seed supply.
At this time we are not accepting seeds saved from store-bought produce; these are often hybrid plants with different parents, and their seeds might not produce what you expected.
Neither way is better. Do what is convenient for you. If you request seeds online, somebody could come in person and grab the seeds you want before staff are able to process your email request. If you come in person, staff could grab the seeds you want in order to fill someone's email request before you get here.