The Banks Public Library on July 6, 2020. Photo: Chas Hundley

The Banks Public Library is expanding their seed saving program, and recently opened membership to a club to promote use of the library’s more than 300 varieties of seeds — and 3,000 seed packets — for gardening. 

“In early 2020, we solicited seed donations from a few major seed companies, and were generously donated open-pollinated, heirloom, organic, and hybrid seed,” the library said in an email. Coupled with seed grown from local Banks-area gardeners, the full inventory of seeds can be viewed online here

Note that there are seven full sheets of seed listings, which can be accessed by clicking the individual tabs at the bottom of the page. Included in the list are some live plants, as well as a vegetable gardening kit, with seeds, instructions, and a kids activity sheet.

Those looking to obtain seeds can place an order by calling 503-324-1382 or by email at [email protected] with the subject line of “Seed Club.” 

WCCLS does away with overdue fines

In other library news, member libraries of the Washington County Cooperative Library Association — Banks, Forest Grove, North Plains, among them — will no longer charge overdue fees for materials checked out from their respective libraries.

On top of that, overdue fees already existing on patrons’ accounts have been wiped clean. 

“We have made this change because WCCLS libraries are for everyone – our libraries’ mission is to serve all residents of Washington County – equally, affordably and with easy access. Studies have shown (PDF) that overdue fines most severely impact communities of color and/or with lower incomes, and don’t significantly promote the timely return of library materials,” the library system said in a statement. 

The new policy, unanimously approved by the Washington County Board of Directors in December, doesn’t apply for lost or damaged items, so if you think the library just became a completely free bookstore, think again. An item checked out for too long will eventually be considered lost and the patron will be charged a replacement fee, which, speaking from experience (don’t bring library books on camping trips), can be costly. Those with $20 or more in replacement or damage fees will be barred from checking anything out until they’ve paid up. 

Read more frequently asked questions about the changes here