To the editors at USA Today it might seem "weird" that a public library would offer seeds, energy meters, microscopes, and skeletal models. To others it looks like a beloved public institution is evolving its mission.
"American Library Association President Maureen Sullivan considers the seed collections a powerful way to help people pursue "self-directed learning and education." Sullivan, interim dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Simmons College in Boston, said she has been encouraging librarians "to get out of the four walls of the library and really be out and about in the community." Seed libraries, she said, are perhaps the most visible sign that libraries get it.
Choate, of the Ann Arbor library, said seed libraries and skeletons aren't necessarily a sign that libraries are trying to stay relevant — it's in the very nature of libraries to change. Many of the items we now take for granted — paperback books, pulp fiction and children's books, for instance — were novelties, or worse, when libraries first introduced them. "Back in the day," she said, "having fiction was scandalous.""