UHCW Seed Library

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UHCW Library and Knowledge Services are pleased to announce we have launched a new Seed Library for UHCW staff, in conjunction with the Faith Centre and the People Support Team.

Seed libraries are places where people borrow seeds for gardening, which in turn helps promote seed diversity and local food production.

By setting up a seed library at UHCW, staff can borrow and plant seeds in either their personal garden or on some (limited) space available on-site. We currently stock fruit, vegetable, and herb seeds for anyone at UHCW to borrow, grow and donate.


How do I borrow from the seed library? 

1) Choose what seeds you’d like to grow from the green crates. These are kept in alphabetical order and are labelled with information about how to grow them.

2) Write down the details of what you have borrowed in the logbook. You can choose to leave your name if you wish, but just let us know the date and quantity of envelopes you have taken so we can monitor stock levels.

3) Go and grow!

There is no need to be a member of the wider UHCW Library and Knowledge Services to borrow from the seed library. You are welcome to pop along and help yourself!

However, if you would like to access the seeds outside of staffed hours, you might like to register with the library to ensure you have 24-hour access with your staff ID card. Registering will also mean you are eligible to borrow from our range of gardening books, that can help you make your choices about what to grow. You can register with the library online or visit the main library helpdesk.


How do I grow the seeds? 

The seeds you borrow can either be taken home to be grown, or if access to gardening space is limited, staff can use the courtyard space in the Faith Centre onsite to plant and nurture their seeds. 

More details on the available on-site space will be published here in the coming months and we will publicise this via the library's social media channels.

We’ll always make sure that we include growing instructions with each variety of seeds included in the green crates. Where detailed information is needed, we will direct you to the seed producers website instead.

There are a number of gardening and sustainability books available in the library for members to borrow. You can search for them using the search bar above and clicking the 'Library Books' tab at the top.



How do I donate seeds? 

Once you have harvested and enjoyed your plants, the seeds from that harvest can be returned to the seed library for the next growing season. Users aren’t required to donate their harvest, but the more seeds we receive back in the library means the more sustainable our scheme will be! The only requirement will be to return donations with growing instructions for the next user.

To donate your own saved seeds to the library:

  1. Help yourself to the blank seed packets in the donation box
  2. We recommend including 5 – 10 seeds per envelope.
  3. Please ensure the labels on the seed packets are completed before dropping off
  4. Enter your donation in the logbook.

In the meantime, we’ll always welcome donations which haven’t been grown by users too! If you want to contribute to the community by picking up some seeds from a local garden centre, you are welcome to drop them off in the donation box. Just add a note to the logbook so we know where they came from.

As we grow, we may also look to accept donations of gardening equipment too.


Why are we setting up a seed library? 

  • The library team are always keen to support the wellbeing of staff through our services and resources, and gardening can have a positive effect on our mental health, particularly in reducing depression and anxiety. (King’s Fund, 2016
  • This scheme offers a fantastic opportunity to work collaboratively across the trust and to encourage the use of space for those who might not have access to a garden. 
  • We also hope this will contribute to building a sense of community at UHCW. 
  • The scheme offers an affordable way for staff to try something new or encourage staff to affordably grow their own food. 
  • To promote biodiversity and preserve genetic diversity.  


Where can I find the seed library? 

UHCW staff will be able to borrow seeds from the library itself, or from the Faith Centre.

You can find UHCW Library and Knowledge Services on the first floor of the Clinical Sciences Building. The Seed Library stand is immediately on your left-hand side as you come through the library doors, in front of the helpdesk.

Information on where to find information from the Faith Centre will follow shortly.


How can I get involved?

Our seed library is only just sprouting and how it operates will be subject to change as we grow! As such, we will be especially grateful for – and responsive to - your feedback.

If you are interested in getting involved, borrowing, or donating, please do get in touch! Email us via library@uhcw.nhs.uk 

We’ll also be especially interested to follow your progress as you grow. If you are keen on using social media, please do tag us in your posts and stories on Instagram and X/Twitter. 

You can follow us here:

Twitter/X: @UHCWLibrary 

Instagram: @uhcwlib

Please use the #UHCWSeedLibrary hashtag in your posts so we can join in the conversation!

We’ll also leave comment cards at each seed library hub for you to leave feedback anonymously if you prefer.

The success of the seed library is dependent on UHCW staff coming together as a community. From keen gardeners and green-fingered novices, to champions of sustainability in the NHS and staff wellbeing, we are very much looking forward to getting to know you and count on your support! #TeamUHCW