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The University of Massachusetts Amherst

Mass Aggie Seed Library

Mass Aggie Seed Library

What we accept

The Mass Aggie Seed library collects and distributes organic open-pollinated and heirloom seeds.  We do not willingly accept or distribute patented seeds or varieties protected by the Plant Variety Protection Act.  Please note that seeds in our library are a combination of commercially available seeds and those donated by the community and shared freely with interested growers.   While we do our best to maintain the integrity of seeds in the collection, this is not a commercial seed source, and the quality of seeds may vary. If you discover any problems with your seeds, including poor germination, off-types, or mislabeling, please let us know.  A seed library is a community effort, and you can help keep the collection healthy.

What about marijuana seeds?

As part of a publicly-funded institution that accepts federal money to pursue its educational mission, the University of Massachusetts Amherst Libraries adheres to federal laws concerning federally controlled substances.  The Mass Aggie Seed Library does not accept seeds of federally controlled substances. 

Who can use the Seed Library?

The Mass Aggie Seed Library is normally open for all to use on a self-service basis during the hours the Science & Engineering Library is open.

Books in the seed library are available for loan through the Commonwealth Catalog as well as though the UMass Library system.

If you wish to borrow seed equipment, you will need to have a borrower's card.  Information on getting a borrower's card can be found here:

Seed Borrowing


Seed Checkout

1. Look through the seed cabinet and choose the seeds you would like to grow.  There is no spreadsheet of inventory and each week the selection changes.  This is a "you get what you get" community project.  Welcome the gift of the unexpected!

2. Take a small portion of the seeds from their envelope in the cabinet and place them into a blank envelope. These can be found on the top of the seed cabinet labeled Seed Checkout Envelopes.

3.  If you take the last of the seeds in the seed packet, or if you come across an empty seed packet in the catalog, please place the empty seed packet in the box labeled “Empty Seed Packets.”

4. Copy the information for each seed variety onto the seed checkout envelope. Some people take a picture of the packet information with their phone.

5. Fill out the Seed Checkout Log so we can track popular types of seed and community borrowing practices.

6. Take the seeds home and plant them in your garden. Please pay special attention to pollination methods and isolation distances when planting your seeds; for more on this, please refer to the book “Seed to Seed” by Suzanne Ashworth.

7. Tend your plants through the season and allow some of your crop to reach full maturity. Harvest seeds from a selection of your healthiest plants. For more on growing for and harvesting healthy seeds, see A Seed Saving Guide for Gardeners and Farmers from the Seed Alliance:

8. Please bring seeds from healthy plants back to our seed cabinet, so that we can maintain and grow our collection.


Mass Aggie Seed Library Seed Donation Form

Seed Donation


Seed Donation

1. Place each type of seed you collected into a blank “Seed Donation Envelope” available in the seed library cabinet. The Mass Aggie Seed Library accepts donations of open-pollinated seeds (no hybrids) and would prefer organic seeds if possible. Please note we do not accept patented seeds or varieties protected by the Plant Variety Protection Act. (What are those? Come in and let's chat!)

2. Fill out as much of the information on the envelope that you can for each seed variety donated.

3. Place the envelope into the metal basket labeled “Place Completed Seed Donation Envelopes Here.”


You can also drop off donations in the library book drop, just make sure to label it so it gets to me.