The Reading Garden was created during the 2010 Library expansion, and provides an outdoor reading area for Library patrons. The Reading Garden, which can only be accessed from the Main Floor of the Library, has a walkway lined with engraved donor bricks. The focal point of the space is a fountain that runs almost year round, enhancing the peaceful atmosphere of the garden.
The engraved walkways tell a variety of stories and celebrate a great deal of local history in their lines of text. Donor bricks highlight the names of children and grandchildren, parents and ancestors, and local organizations both current and historical. Scattered among the individual bricks are larger pavers engraved with quotations from authors with ties to Boyle County and central Kentucky. The quotations were chosen for their profound and clear way of celebrating the value of books, reading, and gardens.
Plantings in the garden were chosen to provide a pleasing experience for all the senses. Native Kentucky varieties were used, when possible, to provide color in all seasons and sweet fragrance while blooming. Each spring the children attending story times plant annuals among the perennials and celebrate summer with a harvest of sunflowers.
Karl Benson Library Park
The Karl Benson Library Park & parking area opened in December 2012. The park was made possible thanks to a generous gift to the Library designated for such a purpose. It boasts playful bronze statues, seating areas, and a fountain set upon Kentucky limestone.
The expanded brick-paved lot allows for 39 additional parking spaces for library patrons. Brick pavers were used for both aesthetic and environmental reasons. The pavers allow for rainwater to settle into the water table, thus not burdening the city’s storm sewer system during heavy rainstorms.
Situated in the center of the park is a world globe sculpture made of brushed stainless steel and Corten steel, and comes complete with embossed mountain ranges. The globe serves as a focal point for the island upon which it sits and as another symbol of the library’s role in linking people with the wider world.
In 2013, a Monarch Waystation was created by the Garden Club of Kentucky on the Broadway side of the Library. Monarch Waystations are habitats that provide resources necessary for monarch butterflies to produce successive generations and sustain their migration. Monarch Waystations are filled with a variety of plants that attract monarchs, most notably milkweed.
Currently, milkweeds and nectar sources are declining due to development and the widespread use of herbicides in croplands, pastures, and roadsides resulting in a decrease in the monarch population. To combat this habitat loss, Monarch Waystations are being created throughout the country, ranging in size from Small (less than 200 sq ft) to Colossal (more than 5,000 sq ft). Currentlymore than 8,000 waystations have been created nationwide.