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Madison Public Library: Seed Library

Borrowing seeds from Madison Public Library is free and easy!

  1. Visit participating libraries to pick up seeds.
  2. Grow your plants and enjoy the harvest.
  3. After harvest, collect and share seeds with neighbors if you'd like!

By participating in the seed library you are helping to create a culture of sharing and community. Saving seeds leads to a sustainable future for your community and your garden.

Participating Libraries

How do I get seeds?newly sprouted plants

Visit participating libraries to pick up seeds. There's no limit to the number of seed packets you can request and each packet contains about 10 seeds. Please note, just like with our books, there are a limited number of seeds in the collection.

We've created some helpful book lists to use alongside your seeds, as a way to learn more about a variety of topics related to different kinds of gardening.​ You can download and print the booklists or peruse them digitally and place holds using LINKcat.

Download Gardening Book List for Adults
Download Gardening Book List for Kids

Seeds in Spring, Summer and Autumn

The seed library offers a variety of vegetable, herb, fruit, and flower seeds from March through September. Varieties are subject to availability, and may include:
  • Seed Library at Goodman South Madison LibraryBean
  • Beet
  • Bok Choy
  • Broccoli
  • Cabbage
  • Carrot
  • Celeriac
  • Celery
  • Collards
  • Cucumbers
  • Eggplant
  • Kale
  • Leek
  • Lettuce
  • Okra
  • Onion
  • Parsnip
  • Pea
  • Pepper (bell, hot)
  • Pumpkin
  • Radish
  • Rutabaga
  • Spinach
  • Squash
  • Swiss Chard
  • Tomato (slicer, cherry)
  • Turnip
  • Zucchini
HerbsMadison Public Library gives away free seeds to the community through their Seed Library program
  • Basil
  • Chives
  • Cilantro
  • Dill
  • Garlic chives
  • Mustard
  • Oregano
  • Parsley
  • Rosemary
  • Sage
Free seeds available from Madison Public Library's Seed LibraryFruits
  • Melon
  • Watermelon
  • Cosmos
  • Marigold
  • Nasturtium 
  • Pansy
  • Sunflower
  • Zinnia

Note: Not all of these seeds will be available at all seed libraries.

Upcoming Events

See all of our upcoming gardening programs at

Starting Seeds class at Lakeview Library

Container Gardening

Container gardening has become a hot topic in recent years as more of us are living in condos and apartments and would like to garden. Also, as people age, gardening with containers allows us to garden with less bending and kneeling. To be a successful container gardener, you need to know not only about the plants that grow in containers but also how growing in containers affect plants. A certified Master Gardener Volunteer from Dane County UW-Extension will talk about the advantages and disadvantages of different container types, container soils and their characteristics, watering and fertilizing schedules, plants that are well suited for containers and container design.


Madison Public Library's Seed Library began as a larger project called the Dane County Seed Library, which was started in 2014 with a $5,000 grant provided by the John A. Johnson Fund and an anonymous donor through the Madison Community Foundation. The Seed Library is currently funded by multiple sources, including the Friends of Madison Public Library and Madison Public Library Foundation.

Subscribe to our Science and Nature Newsletter

Because of your interest in this page, we though you might be interested in our Science and Nature newsletter, a monthly lists of selected new or newer science, nature, and sustainability titles in the library's collection.

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