The Reading Garden

at Wood Library

Coming Summer 2023!

“If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” — Cicero

It’s a beautiful day.  The sun peeks through the trees and warms your face. From your perch on a bench, you’re surrounded by native plants. Your book is open on your lap. You sip a cup of tea as you watch butterflies flutter from flower to flower, gathering pollen as they go. You link your tablet to the library WiFi and wait for a friend to join you for Tai Chi class, with a plan to walk downtown for lunch when you’re finished. You haven’t felt this relaxed in weeks!

This is just one vision for The Reading Garden at Wood Library – a new outdoor community space that everyone can enjoy.

With support from community members, a currently underutilized area of the library property will be transformed into a beautiful, inviting place for patrons to read, study or work, gather in small groups, or play quietly.  The approximately 2,000 square foot garden will include a columned entrance that mimics the architecture of the library’s historic building, trellises and a pergola, a reading theater, a reading garden, an interpretive/educational garden, and shade and pollinator gardens. 

The pandemic taught us how important it is to have more outdoor seating and flexible programming space.  The Reading Garden will enhance library service and offer new opportunities for reading or studying outside, storytimes, and other small group activities.  The thoughtful garden design includes comfortable seating and a variety of spaces to accommodate individual and small group activities.  The walls of the library building and existing mature landscaping will act as a sound buffer making the garden a perfect spot for quiet reflection, catching up on a project, or meeting with a friend.

Visitors to the garden will be able to access the library’s free WiFi.  The pathways will be graded and designed to accommodate strollers, walkers, and wheelchairs.  The garden will be illuminated with dark-sky compliant lighting and monitored by security cameras.

This exciting project supports our mission to provide a safe and inclusive environment where people can spark their imaginations, satisfy their curiosity, engage in lifelong learning, and make community connections.  It also fulfills a strategic goal to establish new, sustainable, outdoor seating and gathering spaces that will foster community connections beyond our walls.

Construction of the garden will commence in June 2023 and include site preparation, installation of utilities and wireless access points, lighting, fencing, landscaping, seating, and a new doorway into the children’s room.  

We have secured a grant of $173,059 from New York State for The Reading Garden, and are now accepting donations to fully fund the $500,000 project.  Pledges starting in 2022 will be accepted, for up to three years.  Any donations received above and beyond the fundraising goal will be used for annual maintenance of the garden. 

Help us make this vision a reality by making a gift or pledge to The Reading Garden at Wood Library today, and sharing our story and need with others!

Or, download a paper copy of the pledge and donation form, and mail it to Wood Library, 134 N Main St, Canandaigua, NY  14424:  Pledge Form Reading Garden

View the architectural design concept:  Wood-Library-Reading-Garden-Curved-Theatre-Concept-Plan-5.26.21

Watch our promotional video created by Mitch Steedman Media!