Burnaby Board of Trade Pledge
Burnaby Board of Trade Pledge

How the BCIT Seed Library is helping preserve local biodiversity

In a display in the corner of the BCIT Library is a special collection of information: drawers filled with dozens of varieties of seeds. And it’s one of the library’s particularly popular resources, offering seeds for flowers, herbs, vegetables, and a number of books to help with every aspect of growing a garden.

Since it opened last year, word about the new collection spread quickly with the seeds flying off the shelves. Some found their way into the soil at BCIT’s campus community garden, and others were tended to on window sills and balconies in homes and in offices.

The perfect home for seeds

Alison Griffin, BCIT Librarian, thinks libraries are the perfect place for something like seeds. “We bring an archival perspective,” she says, “seed libraries like ours are not just about preserving knowledge, they’re also about promoting biodiversity in local gardens.”

She’s also seen it help to build relationships. “There’s a whole community on campus who share an interest in being part of our food system,” she shares, “It’s raised my awareness of connections.”

Allison Griffin, BCIT Librarian and Seed Library Project Lead

She even noticed colleagues growing seeds at their desk. “It makes people excited,” she adds, “It’s like bringing in a puppy.  Seedlings gather a lot of attention.”

Building community

While tending to a garden can often be a solo act, Griffin hopes the seed library will also continue to be a bridge to a larger community, “While we may not be growing together, we’re talking about it and learning about it together.”

Just as you might borrow a book and return it, library users are encouraged to save seeds from the plants they grow, and return them to support next year’s collection.


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