If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need. - Cicero
There is a neglected brick patio at the Walla Walla Public Library which will soon be transformed into a beautiful reading garden. Visitors will find benches under arching viburnum and seating among sword ferns, sky pencil holly, a dwarf gingko, a Japanese maple and black dragon cryptomeria. A granite slab fountain will create a perfect atmosphere for lunch or an opportunity to read just one more chapter.
A reading garden is not a new idea for libraries. Library reading gardens are being restored or developed in many cities across the nation. During the Great Depression there were public libraries who kept a collection of books in reading gardens where a weary job seeker could find a spot to read and rest. These libraries were handling increased circulation and foot traffic similar to what today's libraries are experiencing. Then and now libraries are where people go to write resumes, search for jobs (then in newspapers, now online), and take advantage of what Malcolm Forbes called " ...the endless, incredible loot available at your local library."
Today, the impetus to create a reading garden continues to be both the desire to provide a comfortable place for someone to read and the appeal of a well-designed garden. Adding green spaces is also a factor in today's renewed interest in reading gardens.
The construction of the garden at the Walla Walla Public Library is possible due to the generosity of the Sherwood Trust. The plans for the garden, designed by Becky Gwinn of The End Product, can be viewed at: sites.google.com/site/wwplreadinggarden
Donations for garden furniture can be made to The Friends of the Walla Walla Public Library. Call the library at 527-4550 for more information.