Canandaigua, New York – Looking outside, reading and discussing outdoors still seems a long way off.
But at Wood Library, after two years of debate, work on the outdoor reading garden may be coming sooner than you think.
According to Executive Director Jenny Goodemote, Canandaigua Library’s proposed 2,000-square-foot outdoor area could break ground in August. The City Planning Commission, which approved the conceptual plan for 2021, still has to give the final plan its OK. Goodemote hopes it will be done by the time the shovel meets the dirt.
“By that time, we hope to have completed the fundraising,” said Goodemote.
Goodemote expects patrons to start enjoying the gardens in 2024.
Why are there outdoor reading gardens?
During the pandemic, library staff realized they could have used outdoor spaces for programs they didn’t have, and were forced to switch to many virtual programming until pandemic restrictions were lifted.
At the same time, focus groups were held and surveys conducted as library staff prepared a new strategic plan, indicating that people wanted more outdoor space, Goodemote said. Stated.
At the time, there were two benches to sit on, and a small picnic table has since been added.
“People want to read a book, access Wi-Fi, sit outside and enjoy nature,” says Goodemote.
What are your plans for the garden?
Patrons can enter the gardens on the north side of the building using a columned entrance near the front of the building facing Main Street. The door leading to the children’s library also leads outside.
“You can come in for a coffee, pick up a book, and read outside,” said Goodemote.
Due to limited space, library programs for small groups (library teen theater, Tai Chi classes, book clubs, etc.) will be planned.
Not exactly an amphitheater, but a reading theater is planned.
With excitement building among staff for upcoming classes and events, Goodemote envisions a lot of sustainable programming, as well as Native American commentary and bee pollinator gardens.
Such programming opens the library to new partnerships within the community and builds on existing relationships.
“We have a huge number of highly motivated participants here to help us create quality shows,” said Goodemote.
Outdoor programming requires registration. This allows library staff to control the number of people outside. The planned hard scaping of the reading garden (paths, pergolas, patios, etc.) drives up many costs, but also opens up the library to more people.
“We are very adamant about making this garden accessible to all,” said Goodemote. “Whether in a wheelchair, a walker, or pushing a stroller, you can go out into the garden.”
who is paying for it?
The library has successfully won a construction grant available only to libraries. The project costs about $500,000. The grant was approximately $173,000.
Goodemote said the library continues to be an active fundraiser, with donations now exceeding $400,000.
Naming opportunities are available. Information about contributing to the project is available at woodlibrary.org or by calling 585-394-1381.
Goodemote says: “This shows that the community is behind the project and we hope it will come to fruition.”