Friends of the Black Mountain Library to hold seed growing workshop

Karrigan Monk
Black Mountain News
Members of Friends of the Black Mountain Library pose in celebration of the library's 100th anniversary last year.

For six decades, the Friends of the Black Mountain Library has worked to support the local branch.

According to its website, the Friends of the Black Mountain Library raises funds "for books, equipment, programs and other needs not covered by the library budget.”

“Our mission is really to support and enhance the Black Mountain Library,” Secretary Cate Crane said. “We believe it is an excellent community library.”

Formed in 1963, the Friends of the Black Mountain Library helped build the existing library building that opened in 1968. The Friends also helped with the 2009 expansion.

Crane said the group works in many different ways, including running various used bookstores. She said one of the bookstores is physically located in the library, and there are two others run online through Etsy. Crane said the volunteers accept the donated books and sort through them before putting them up for sale.

The Friends of the Black Mountain Library also helps with library programming in addition to hosting its own programming. Members also participate in the annual holiday parade.

“All those different things add another layer onto all the good work that our librarians do,” Crane said.

Crane said her favorite part of being a friend of the library is getting to work with the seed library, which the organization also manages.

The seed library offers Black Mountain residents the opportunity to check out various seeds for free to grow a garden. Crane said seeds are donated from local and national partners.

Seeds are usually available from early February through October. This year, the season kicks off Feb. 18 at 2 p.m. with a special presentation from a master gardener, John Bowen. The event will cover basic information on how to start planting and what particular seeds need to thrive.

Old card catalogs are now used as part of the Black Mountain Library's seed library.

The seeds are kept in an old library card catalog set of drawers that was donated by librarian Michelle Ruedin in memory of one of her friends, Elizabeth Evangeline Dennis.

Crane said using the card catalog is a great way to upcycle instead of simply throwing the piece away.

“We’re really excited about that. Those card catalogs, instead of being thrown to the curb, they’re finding all sorts of new uses,” Crane said. “One of them is for seed packages.”

Crane said the seed library is just one of the things that makes the Black Mountain Library unique and that it, along with all other libraries, are important to preserve in communities.

“Libraries are really essential for our community to create vibrant and creative communities,” Crane said. “We have a gem in the Black Mountain Library.”