Our Library’s Great Outdoors


Stroll around the new Walking Path at the Desmond-Fish Public Library today and you will be surrounded by long waving grasses, swirling butterflies, and myriad sounds of nature. Meadows like this offer food, shelter and propagation sites for pollinating insects and ground-nesting birds. This new look to the Library property reflects our ongoing commitment to sustainability.


The Desmond-Fish Public Library is located in one of the most beautiful and inspiring sites in the Hudson Highlands, at the historic four corners in Garrison. The property on which the Library rests was both purchased and donated in 1978 and 1979; by 1980 it was transformed from hayfield to campus.  When the Library opened its doors, the Library Board and dedicated volunteers planted trees but otherwise the outdoor property was left mostly alone. Branches were trimmed, the lawn was mowed, a small wetland emerged, but little was done to change the landscape. 

In 2019, the Board of Trustees, interested in exploring a sustainable energy solar option, engaged a landscape architect to develop an overall Site Plan that could guide any future actions on our grounds. A New York State grant funded this initiative.

The Site Plan was adopted in 2020 after a two year community-focused design process to integrate our goal of using solar energy with expanding the public’s access to the beautiful natural habitats on our property.  We have yet to make solar energy a reality; however we have been able to transform large sections of our landscape.

All Are Welcome

We invite everyone to enjoy the beautiful enhancements that the last two years have brought to our campus: read on our comfortable outdoor benches, walk along our meandering path, leap from stump to stump, chase butterflies in the meadow, or toss a frisbee on the lawn.

The Library belongs to you, the public.

Help Us Discover

In order to document the flora and fauna of the Library grounds, we have opened a Nature Catalog on iNaturalist. A joint initiative of the California Academy of Sciences and the National Geographic Society, iNaturalist uses the power of community of observers – like you! – to map the biodiversity of environments and support ecological research across the world.

Click here to view the Nature Catalog and recent findings, learn how you can contribute, and download the iNaturalist app to your mobile device.

Reading Garden

Pleasant places to read and meet outdoors were a priority of the new Site Plan. Thanks to the generosity of our Library Trustee, Frank E. Lucente, MD, we were able to install a beautiful Reading Garden during the long days of the pandemic that now provides a wonderful place for reading and reflection. The Reading Garden and its maintenance are completely funded through a private donation.

Walking Path

With New York State grants and further private gifts, we completed our Walking Path in the fall of 2021. The path is ADA-compliant and proceeds through the midst of the Library grounds. Six benches along the Path offer space for reading and contemplation, and all have beautiful views of the surrounding hills.

Want to help support the Walking Path?

Pollinator Plantings

In the summer of 2022, we are enhancing the landscape around the path with a Pollinator Garden planned and installed by the Cornell Cooperative Extension and a large group of dedicated volunteers. The Pollinator Garden project is funded by the Putnam County Soil & Water Conservation District.  There will be areas of other native garden plantings around the Path benches, which have been generously funded through private donations to provide access and enjoyment for all. 

Our Staff and Board remain committed to exploring alternative sources of energy to combat climate change. We currently purchase all our electricity from a community solar farm and we seek ways to reduce our fossil fuel consumption.

Want to know what’s been planted in the garden? Have a look!

Sandra Nice Memorial

In loving memory of a former Library Trustee and beloved Garrison teacher, Sandra Nice, a stone bench and copper beech tree can be found just off the path.

Carolyn Ross Memorial

In loving memory of a dedicated member of the Friends of the Library and wonderful volunteer, the Carolyn Ross Garden has been planted outside the main window in the Children’s Room. 

Outdoor Events

Play in the Neighborhood


Local Parks
Here at the Library

There’s lots of discover inside AND outside of the library –– our entire grounds are open to the public for play and exploration. Can you find butterflies in the reading garden? Evidence of bats in our bathouses? What kind of animal tracks can you find –– fox, rabbit, raccoon, even coyote? Make sure to tell a librarian what you discover!