The Estevan Public Library has added a couple new services in its efforts to serve the community.
A seed library was started last fall in partnership with the Quota Club of Estevan. Quota provided one generous donation to help the seed library get off the ground, and offered another one during the launch of the seed library.
Library branch manager Lucas Reid said the library was thankful for the support.
“We provide seeds in individual envelopes,” said Lucas. “People can come in, and sign up for a membership in the seed library, which doesn’t actually require a library card.”
People can take up to four packages of different seeds at once. They will take the seeds home, grow them, and if they’re successful, then bring in seeds from that plant so that others can benefit in the future.
“It’s not a rigid library system where we have due dates, or anything, of course, because they are seeds and they are plants that are slow-growing,” said Lucas.
The food library, meanwhile, is a miniature food bank for people to bring in or take an item to help patrons.
It’s on a small scale, and Lucas stressed they’re not trying to take away from the local food bank.
“We understand that they do a good job,” said Lucas. “It’s just something to sort of supplement that, and just another free initiative that we’re trying to offer. Both of them seem to be going pretty well so far.”
It’s not just non-perishable food items that are available. Lucas pointed out there are basic hygiene items, such as toothpaste.
Both initiatives were brought to Lucas’ attention by adult program co-ordinator Roxy Blackmore, who had seen them used at other libraries.
The food library has been particularly well received. A lot of people came in, especially when it was first launched, to drop off or pick up items.
The library tracks what comes in, and notes the expiration dates, if applicable.
“It’s been pretty stocked ever since,” Lucas said. “We’ve noticed something things are leaving, which is good.”
The pantry is located near the back of library for the convenience of people who might be uncomfortable taking items from it.
The seed library has been fairly quiet, since it was launched in the fall, and it’s not expected to pick up until the spring. But they have received some donations, and some people have taken seeds.
Lucas said these initiatives are part of the library’s efforts to diversify services. They’re all free, and he added it’s fun and interesting to see what they can offer the public beyond their traditional services.