Seed Lending Library

Hayward Public Library’s Seed Lending Library operates as a community seed exchange in which borrowers are able to “check out” a wide variety of vegetable and flower seeds to plant in their gardens for home use.


The goal of the Seed Lending Library is to increase the capacity of Hayward community members to feed themselves and their families wholesome food with education and resources that foster community resilience, self-reliance, and a culture of sharing. The program promotes open-pollinated vegetables and fosters a greater understanding of the value of biodiversity through free seed-saving and gardening workshops. Seed-saving demonstrations often incorporate vegetables grown from the Seed Lending Library’s very own rooftop garden.

Getting Started

The library also offers a wide selection of excellent gardening books that will help you learn how to start a garden from scratch, whether you have a large plot to develop, or only a window sill or deck to grow plants in containers. You can also check out books related to seed harvesting.

Or you can stop the Main Library (835 C St) or the Weekes Branch (27300 Patrick Ave) to ask for assistance.

Learn the simple steps to get started, and how to harvest seeds from their fully grown plants so that you can return seeds for use in your own garden or by another member.

Become a Member

You don’t have to be an expert gardener to participate and there is no cost to join.

Become a member of the Hayward Seed Lending Library to check out seeds. We will also send you announcements about upcoming gardening and seed-saving workshops. Or pick up a copy of the Hayward Library’s quarterly calendar and newsletter At Your Libr@ry! at the Main Library or Weekes Branch to find out about future workshops and other related events.

Volunteer with the Seed Lending Library

We need volunteers to help process donated seeds, organize the seed catalog, help us organize garden workshops and community events, and much more.

To get involved, complete a volunteer application form.

Your Financial and Seed Donations Help!

Without a strong base of diverse seeds, food production is threatened by disease and climate change.

If you have out-of-date, excess seed inventory, or are willing to grow crops for the specific purpose of cultivating seeds for the Hayward Seed Lending Library, we will put the seeds to good use. While our primary emphasis is on vegetables and herbs, we also stock California natives and flower seeds that attract natural predators to control garden pests, or seeds that attract bees and butterflies to promote pollination.

Please identify the common name, scientific name, variety, year, seed source, and any other pertinent information with your donation. Include your name and contact information with the donation to receive an acknowledgement of your in-kind tax-deductible contribution. Send your donation to the address below, to the attention of the Hayward Seed Lending Library.

Financial contributions are also helpful, to help us purchase supplies and materials to maintain the Seed Lending Library. Make your check out to our fiscal sponsor, the Friends of the Hayward Public Library, with an earmark for the Seed Lending Library, and send it to the Friends at the address below. All contributions to the Friends are tax deductible.


The Hayward Seed Lending Library exists in large part because of generous support from the following organizations and volunteers who have provided critical resources and shared their knowledge and expertise to create and maintain this valuable asset in Hayward.

Primary Organizational Sponsors

• Friends of the Hayward Library
• Kaiser Permanente
• Alameda County Office of Education
• Alameda County Master Gardeners

Special Thanks

• Rebecca Newburg, Richmond Grows Seed Lending Library, for sharing great ideas and resources that we tailored to create our own program, and whose leadership continues to spark the development of seed libraries throughout the country.

• Gail Barchfeld and Nancie Ryan, Alameda County Master Gardeners, who have shepherded the Seed Lending Library from the start, organizing every aspect of the program.

Additional Thanks

• Alameda County Master Gardeners: Ruth Kuftin
Alameda County Office of Education/Project EAT: Chris Boynton, Deb Israel, and Deb Jelincic
Bay Area Seed Interchange Library (BASIL), Berkeley, CA
• California State University East Bay Greek organizations
• Hayward Unified School District: Robin Gallagher, Director of Food Services
• Kaiser Permanente, Community Benefits Program: Rikki Kiefer