Seed Library

Our Mission

The Normal Seed Library is a free seed project committed to making wholesome food available to our community members.  Through this project, we hope to foster community resilience, self-reliance, and a culture of sharing.

The collection is located in the Normal Public Library in partnership with the University of Illinois Extension.

Borrowing Seeds


Calico Dent Corn

The seeds you borrow from the Normal Seed Library are lent to you at no cost, and they are priceless.

A commitment to growing plants from seeds is a gift to yourself.  We hope you learn much, experience the joy of gardening, and enjoy the fruits of your labor.

At harvest time, please take some extra steps to save seeds for others. We ask that a portion of the seeds you save be returned to the seed lending library to keep the library self-sustaining.  The more seeds in the library, the more members of our community can experience the pleasures of growing their own food.

Invite your friends and neighbors to participate with you and keep the community conversation alive about gardening, health, and nutrition.

As a bonus, seeds are never overdue. So there are no fines or replacement costs. Borrow liberally!

What are “Easy” and “Advanced” Seeds?

A plant produces seeds in order to reproduce itself.  Just like an egg has to be fertilized to become a new animal, a seed must be pollinated to produce a new plant.

Easy to grow!

Purple Vienna Kohlrabi

Understanding pollination is key to getting seeds to produce the plants you want. Some plants are self-pollinating—the male and female parts are contained within a single flower that fertilizes itself.  Other plants, called cross-pollinators, have separate male and female flowers and their pollen has to get from one flower to another in order for the flowers to be fertilized.

The seeds from families of plants that are self-pollinating are labeled “easy” to save.  The most widely crossing of the cross-pollinators are labeled “advanced” because it takes effort to keep them from crossing with each other.

Why Save Seeds?

Humans have been saving seeds for over 12,000 years.  Much of that knowledge, however, has been lost over the last hundred years, along with significant biodiversity.

When you grow and save your own seeds, you:

• develop seed stock that is well suited to our climate
• save money
• mitigate our dependence on agro-business

When you participate in the Normal Seed Library you create a culture of sharing and abundance.