Wood Library in Canandaigua seeks an outdoor reading garden

CANANDAIGUA – Imagine finding a quiet place among the gardens where you can open a book and read in the heat of a summer day.


Wood Library hopes to make this a reality, and a quiet and secluded reading garden would be a perfect addition to the library, according to the library’s executive director, Jenny Goodemote.

“This creates a wonderful opportunity to extend the library’s mission beyond our walls, which is to create a comfortable and stable environment for people to satisfy their curiosity, stimulate their imaginations, and connect with the local community and the world. world, “Goodemote said Tuesday during a pitch for approval to the Planning Commission.

The Reading Garden, which conceptually includes a sidewalk leading to it, shade and pollinator plantations, a pergola and trellises, and a small reading theater, would be built on the north side of the library on North Street. Hand. Lighting in line with the dark sky and possibly security doors would also be part of the plan.

The reading theater, according to project landscape architect Ted Liddell, would be a place to sit and read or be used by small reading groups. There is no plan for music or plays, as the feature is designed more for contemplation, reading, small groups for storytime programs, and book discussions.

“All of the elements take into account the historic nature of the building,” said Liddell.

The secluded nature of the garden, however, raises safety and security concerns, as well as noise and the potential to attract deer, from at least one of the library’s residential neighbors.

Members of the Planning Commission delayed implementation of the plan until Canandaigua police had a chance to review it and provide comments. The sidewalk leading to the garden, which is said to be 17 feet from the neighboring property line and 32 feet from the house, is also a concern for some commissioners who hope to allay the concerns of the immediate neighbor.

Goodemote, who said she had met with neighbors about the proposal, said the library had not had many problems because of smokers or “causing trouble.”

“I hope this continues,” Goodemote said.

The garden would be monitored by a security camera and would not be open after dark.

Still, some of the commissioners are generally in favor of the idea, including Bonnie Dorschel, who said she thinks most people would be respectful.

“I think it’s a great idea for the community,” Dorschel said.

The library faces a deadline to apply for grants to fund the project. A concept for the project is due on June 25; with an official state request coming later in the year.

“I think the concept is good,” said Commissioner Stanley Taylor. “Let’s make sure everything’s secure on it.”

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified an issue that library officials were already aware of and the Reading Garden would help address. Other than a few benches, there really isn’t any outdoor seating available to the public.

Those without internet access sit in cars in the library parking lot or sit on the floor, including students who struggle to complete their homework on time, Goodemote said.

“We believed that a garden created a much more welcoming environment to enjoy the library and its much-needed services,” Goodemote said.

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