Seed Library

May 1, 2024: The order form has closed. The Seed Library is accessible in the Library for cardholders to choose from what is left.

We have a selection of fruit, vegetable, herb, and flower seeds available to CAPL cardholders for free. This year, we’re introducing an ordering system to request seed packets. Beginning March 4 at 9 am you may place your seed order online (see link below) or in person at the Service Center. You can choose up to 10 non-duplicate seed packets per household for the year. Once you’ve placed your order, we’ll pack it and have it ready for you to pick up within four business days (and we’ll hold it for four more days for you). This new system makes our popular Seed Library more accessible to more of your fellow cardholders. On May 1, the order form will close and the Seed Library will be accessible in the Library for cardholders to choose from what is left. Again, please be mindful of sharing in the bounty of seed packets!

> 2024 Seed Library catalog 

Sign up for our special Growers e-newsletter which will give you tips and seasonal best practices throughout the important stages of the growing season: planting, harvesting, and seed saving.

Seed Library FAQS
Q: Who can take seeds from the seed library?
A: CAPL cardholders only.

Q: How many seed packets can I take?
A: We have varying quantities of seeds for each variety. This year we’re introducing an ordering system. Each household is allowed 10 unique packets of seed (no duplicates). After May 1, cardholders will have an opportunity to choose from the remaining open stock.

Q: How do I “order” seeds?
A: Visit our Seed Catalog (link coming soon above!) either from home or use the computers in the Library to access our site. On the order form, beginning March 4, please list the (up to) 10 different types of seed and up to three alternates (per household). If a first choice is no longer in stock, we’ll fill your order with one of your alternates. If those are also out of stock, we will call you for additional requests. Please fill out the form with all of your requests of (up to) 10 packets at one time. We’re unable to handle smaller multiple requests per household. Your order will be ready in four business days. We will call you and hold your order for an additional four days. Please choose the Service Center or Drive-up Window for pick up and show your library card to a member of our staff. When you receive your order, we suggest you check it while you’re here, so we can answer any questions you may have or address possible errors. Any unclaimed seeds will be returned to the Seed Library and made available for new orders.

Q: Do I have to return/donate seeds to be able to take seeds?
A: We encourage and appreciate patrons taking the time to harvest and donate seeds! It’s not required, but if it’s something you’d like to try, we’ll have resources available that will walk you through harvesting and saving seeds from some of the easier annual plants. We recommend signing up for our three-season e-newsletter. If you would like to make a donation, please fill out one of our donation forms (pdf) to submit with your seeds.

Q: What is the purpose of the Seed Library?
A: A seed library helps to promote biodiversity and sustainability. It also allows first-time gardeners access to free seeds and allows long-time gardeners to experiment with new varieties. This year we’ve tried to incorporate smaller varieties of some vegetables because we believe a garden shouldn’t be limited by size or land ownership and growing food should be accessible to everyone. If you’ve never planted seeds before, or if you were not able to access our Seed Library, we invite you to visit us again! 

Q: Where can I find more information about the type of plant I am growing?
A: For 2024, all purchased seeds are from Seed Savers Exchange. Donated seeds are from Baker Creek. More information can be found by visiting the Seed Savers Exchange website and searching for the type of seed you are growing. We highly recommend contacting the Illinois Master Gardener Help Desk if you have more specific questions.

Gardening resources

Seed saving tips

Conservation resources