Rhode Island Library Report
PROVIDENCE (April 17, 2013) - The Washington Park Library will push the envelope of public service – and honor the memory of a beloved patron- when it opens the David St. Germain Seed Library at the end of the month.
In addition to checking out conventional materials like books, magazines or CDs, patrons will be able to use their library cards to take home as many as five packets of seeds at a time.
The David St. Germain Seed Library will open April 30 at 3:30 p.m. and continue every Tuesday afternoon through the summer, said Dylan Little, library manager at Washington Park, which is part of the Providence Community Library system.
The seed library, he said, aims “not only to hand seeds off to people but to have the vision to connect them with other great programs” in the community, like the Southside Community Land Trust, and the University of Rhode Island Outreach Center, which has an outpost in Roger Williams Park Botanical Center.
“It will be exciting to see where this goes, “Little said. “Hopefully, we’ll get veterans and people who never planted seeds before” coming to the seed library.
Little said the library has purchased some of the seeds. Others have been donated by the URI Outreach Center, which makes free seeds available to non-profit organizations with gardening programs.
The seed library has received funding from the First Unitarian Church of Providence in memory of St. Germain, who was a fixture at the church on Benefit Street.
St. Germain, known as a tireless advocate for the homeless and the disenfranchised, started a social justice committee at the church. When he died in 2010 at the age of 43, he was remembered at a State House vigil as a man with a lasting presence, who connected those experiencing hardship first-hand with those who needed to know about it.
St. Germain, a disabled paramedic, had been homeless for a year before finding permanent quarters in a Crossroads Rhode Island apartment. But he could not get relief from debilitating pain, and on July 23, 2010, he jumped off the roof of the Providence Place mall garage.
For the inauguration of the seed library April 30, Michelle Walker from the Southside Community Land Trust will be on hand to offer expert advice on exactly what patrons should do with the seeds they “borrow,” Little said.
“Hopefully, in the off-season we can get seeds back that growers have collected,” Little said.
“It might be possible to have a seed swap” in the future, he said.
In addition to guidance from the Southside Community Land Trust, Little said, the library program has received “great advice and support” from the following groups:
The Fertile Underground
Small State Seeds
Sidewalk Ends Farms
URI CELS Outreach Center
Big Train Farms