Library Happenings


Ann Tripp
Salem Public Library Director

Salem Public Library gets ready to unveil its new Seed Library at Seed-Saving Program on May 13

Do you have garden seeds that have been saved for several generations and passed down through your family? Are you interested in finding ways to save money by using seeds that come from your fellow gardeners, not from big seed companies? Would you like to grow plants that are local varieties and have been successful in your community? If so, the Salem Public Library is starting a Seed Library, and you’re invited to join in the gardening fun!

On Saturday, May 13, the library will be offering a class in conjunction with the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office on seed saving.  Historically, farmers saved seed from year to year and in doing so created varieties well suited to their specific weather and soil conditions.  Beginning in the 1930s small regional seed companies were swallowed up by large conglomerates and the locally adapted seed was bypassed in favor of seeds that were hybrids.  Hybrid vegetables were selected for ease of shipping and conformity in color and size; this action led to a decline in taste and level of nutritional content.  The seed also had to be purchased annually.  The eventual outcome of such choices has led to efforts by grass roots groups to begin the saving and sharing of seeds.

Through funding provided by the Friends of Salem Library, the Salem Public Library will be introducing its seed library as a way to encourage the sharing of regionally adapted vegetable, herb and flower seeds.  Seeds libraries have sprung up around the country as a concept intended to foster community through the distribution of saved family seed and through purchased or perhaps donated organic heirloom seed.

Participants in the seed saving program will be offered a selection of packets of organic seed with the hope that gardeners will then grow the plants and at the end of the season return a portion of the donation to be placed in envelopes and offered the following year.  Packets will be organized by level of difficulty in growing; either easy, such as peas, beans, peppers, and tomatoes or more difficult varieties such as herbs, onions and garlic or beets and spinach.  Saving seed from the advanced category requires a higher level of gardening skill as these crops will cross-pollinate and the original variety will not be maintained.

Please join us for the program – whether you are interested in learning the mechanics of harvesting and saving seeds, in beginning your first efforts at gardening, or in sharing your family history through the story of your saved seed collection.  This is a great opportunity to meet and talk with other gardeners, as well as with the experienced staff from the Virginia Cooperative Extension.


Library on the Lawn enters third year of outdoor downtown fun

The Salem Public Library will host Library on the Lawn for its third year starting this Saturday, May 6. Every Saturday in May and June from 10 a.m. – 12 p.m. (weather permitting), the library lawn will transform into an interactive and engaging area, with lawn games, bubbles, storytime, crafts, and more. Free and open to all ages!


Better with less: explore minimalism with a film showing at the Salem Public Library on May 25

How might your life be better with less? Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things examines the many flavors of minimalism by taking the audience inside the lives of minimalists from all walks of life – families, entrepreneurs, architects, artists, journalists, scientists, and even a former Wall Street broker – all of whom are striving to live a meaningful life with less. Fans of Marie Kondo and the decluttering movement will appreciate this film’s message. Attend this free showing of the top indie film of 2016 at the Salem Public Library at 7:00 p.m. on Thursday, May 25, to learn more about minimizing your stuff while maximizing your life. Popcorn and drinks will be served.