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ALTON - Patrons can now check out seeds at Hayner Public Library District’s seed library.

Tabitha Schreiner, who oversees the seed library, explained that patrons can “check out” six seeds at a time to plant in their gardens. They have a variety of plants at the seed library, from black-eyed Susans and native plants to vegetables and herbs.

“The seed library has just been awesome,” Schreiner said. “We have a huge community of just really dedicated people and we’ve got a lot of plants right now.”

Schreiner explained that people donate seeds and the library has purchased a few seeds to be used in the seed library. Hayner staff members create packets of seeds for the community to choose from. You can access the seed library at any of Hayner’s three locations.

“We’ll make little labels with detailed instructions,” Schreiner said. “We’ll slap a label on there if it’s organic, heirloom or native. Then patrons can come and check out up to six seeds at a time, and that gives them access to all of our different things. We’ve got herbs, we’ve got veggies, we’ve got lots and lots of native flowers.”

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While the seed garden is a fun part of the library’s services, it’s not the only way that Hayner has decided to give back to the environment. The library has also collaborated with the local chapter of the Sierra Club to plant a native garden at the downtown Hayner location at Belle Street and W. 4th Street in Alton.

Christine Favilla with the Sierra Club explained that Hayner applied for a “plant grant,” or a grant to plant a native garden on their property. The Sierra Club then designed a native garden for the library, with an emphasis on blue and white flowers to match the library’s logo.

“We’re really just encouraging folks to start thinking about planting native plants,” Favilla said. “Those are the ones that originated in this area, so they’re probably going to succeed the most as well.”

The Sierra Club also collaborates with Alton Main Street to take care of 24 native flower beds in downtown Alton. Favilla said they have many events and seed swaps coming down the pipeline, including a self-guided urban farm tour on June 30, 2024. More information will be available soon.

In addition to Hayner’s seed library, Schreiner oversees the First Pancake Community Garden in Alton. She said they engage in “chaos planting” and the garden will be included in the Sierra Club’s urban farm tour.

She works with the Sierra Club and Hayner Library to collect the seeds they need for the First Pancake Community Garden. She is proud of Hayner’s seed library, and she can’t wait to see more people utilize it as the planting season progresses.

“It's been such a wonderful opportunity,” Schreiner added. “Being able to do this has just been a wonderful experience, and I’m really excited to continue creating more and more native gardens and combine my two loves, libraries and gardening.”

For more information about Hayner Public Library District, visit their official website at HaynerLibrary.org. To learn more about the Alton chapter of the Sierra Club, click here.

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