Sow the Seeds of Community: Ohio County Public Library Launches Seed Library

The Ohio County Public Library is excited to announce a new seed collection as an extension of its already successful Library of Things! The Seed Library is set to launch on October 26, 2023, with a Seed Swap kick-off event on the evening of October 25, 2023, to celebrate the launch and help fill the seed cabinet.

From 6 – 8 p.m. in the OCPL auditorium, gardeners and patrons will swap seeds, discuss gardening, and celebrate the harvest season together. Additionally, the library will provide garden-related raffle prizes, hot apple cider, and light charcuterie refreshments.

The library staff will be joined by members of GrowOV—a local food-growth and distribution nonprofit working to build a sustainable local food system in Wheeling—and members of the WVU Extention’s Master Gardener Program. These groups will be available to answer gardening questions and get patrons excited to work in their own gardens throughout the harvest season and year round.

To participate in the seed swap, attendees are asked to bring one seed packet donation upon entry. It is recommended that participants bring several seed packets to swap with other gardeners or use to “purchase” raffle tickets. The library requests that participants provide seed information written on each seed portion, including seed type, variety, date collected, and any growing notes, and requests that everyone refrain from bringing genetically modified seeds, hybrid seeds, or invasive species. Bulbs, propagation cuttings, and live plants may be swapped between patrons but cannot be donated to the library.

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The day after the event, the Seed Library will officially open! The library will store seeds collected from the Seed Swap event and continue to collect seeds year-round from patrons, local gardeners, and national seeds groups. These seed packets will be free for patrons to take home and grow in the hopes that, at the end of the growing season, a portion of the newest crop of seeds will be harvested and  “returned” to the library as a donation.

The library’s mission in opening this Seed Library is to help cut down on the commercialization of seeds in the US, encourage biodiversity, and make seeds and plants available to everyone in Wheeling. After a few seasons, the library hopes that the Seed Library will also contribute to building a local stock of seeds that are naturally adapted to the local microclimate.

The Seed Library will be located on the main floor next to the Library of Things and in the same section as the magazine collection and the newspapers. Patrons will be allowed to take up to ten seed packets per year, including no more than two packets of any one variety and three packets per visit, though these limits may be subject to change as the Seed Library expands. Seeds will not be cataloged, so patrons will need to visit the library in person to see what is available and know that seeds will differ depending on the time of year and what has been donated.

Don’t miss the kick-off to this exciting new program by attending the Seed Swap on Wednesday, Oct. 25 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Ohio County Public Library. Learn more by visiting