Seed Library

Seed Library Square

The goal the Copper Queen Seed Library is to form and encourage a learning community centered around the saving and sharing of seeds in our unique desert climate.  The practice of seed saving has been around for more than 12,000 years.  It is a part of our heritage and is now more important than ever in preserving unique seed varieties which have drastically decreased due to commercial see farming practices.  Seed libraries like ours have the potential to secure the future of food in the Desert Southwest through conservation, sharing and education. Check out our debut article in the Herald/Review!

  1. Choosing Seeds
  2. Saving Seeds
  3. Resources
  4. Partners

How The Seed Library Works

Choosing Seeds​

​Our Seed Library is located at the Copper Queen Library at 6 Main Street in Old Bisbee. Our Seed Library depends on donations, growing success, and seasonal changes. Seeds are organized by the plants common name and in alphabetical order. The seeds you borrow in our library are all open-pollinated or heirloom varieties, meaning seeds saved from these plants will produce fruit the next season which will be the same as the parent plant. ​ ​ ​

Borrowing Seeds​​

​To borrow seeds from the library, all you need is a Copper Queen Library card in good standing order. Seeds can be checked out just like our books and DVDs. The seed packets contain enough seeds to grow at least five to ten plants. You can check out up to ten packets every month. You don't return the same seeds, so there are no due dates, and you'll never accrue any overdue fines. ​ ​ ​

Sharing Seeds​

​Returning seeds is not required. However, as you learn and grow as a gardener, sharing seeds is highly recommended to help keep our Seed Library going. Collect seeds from your healthiest and tastiest crops. Place your processed seeds in clearly labeled envelopes or containers and be sure to include a donation slip when you drop them off at the library's circulation desk.

Different Seeds


​Heirloom plants are typically at least fifty years old, and are often pre-WWII varieties.  Most come from seed that has been handed down for generations in a particular geographic area, hand-selected by gardeners for a special trait.  All heirloom vegetables are open-pollinated, which means they are pollinated by insects or wind without human intervention.  In addition, they ten to remain stable in their characteristics from one year to the next.  All of the seeds in our Seed Library are either open-pollinated or heirloom.


​A hybrid vegetable is created when plant breeders intentionally cross-pollinate two varieties of a plant, aiming to produce an offspring that contains the best traits of each of the parents.  Seeds saved from hybrid plants will not produce plants like the parent plant, and are thus considered unstable.  Our Seed Library does not accept hybrid seed donations.


​GMO plants are the result of genetic engineering.  This is a process during which a plant's DNA is altered in a way that cannot occur naturally, and sometimes includes the insertion of genes from other species.  Our Seed Library does not accept GMO seed donations.
Seed Blog

The Copper Queen Seed Library is proud to present our new Seed Blog which is intended to allow patrons to share photos of their own gardens, plants, and harvests, as well as gardening insights they have learned along their gardening journey.  Click here to check it out!

To submit to the blog, please click here. You can upload photos (JPEG format) or submit your thoughts and experiences on gardening in our unique desert climate. Inspired by a special plant you’ve seen in your travels? Take a picture and upload it! Learned a trick to get your plants to grow? Share it!

To subscribe to the blog so that you get updates when a patron submits to it, please click here.