During the design process for the new library, a series of community workshops led to a decision to pursue LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) Certification for the new library. LEED, the national standard for evaluating sustainable design, was developed by the U.S. Green Building Council to recognize outstanding projects that strive to minimize negative impacts on future generations.
The library's landscaping design meets LEED requirements. Approximately half of the project site is in a relatively natural state or has been restored to native vegetation and enhanced through careful construction of trails that connect to a broader community trail system. Site development for the library includes a series of bioretention swales to encourage natural infiltration, minimize impacts on the storm sewer system, and remediate existing drainage and glaciation problems on adjacent streets.
Vegetation was selected from native species so that an irrigation system is not required and the grass is not mowed in order to conserve energy. The library grounds are maintained by a combination of the City of Homer, volunteers, and Gardens By Design (an award-winning landscaping firm). The Landscape Subcommittee of the Library Advisory Board is responsible for planning and maintenance issues and the landscaping firm is generously funded by the Friends of the Homer Public Library's Library Improvement Fund.
The library is honored that the Pate family chose the library grounds as the site for the Margret Pate Memorial Garden. Margret was a homesteader who loved books, reading and gardening. Many of the plants in the garden were transplanted from Margret's personal garden. Local artist Rika Mouw chose the location on the south side of the building and designed the garden for people to come to enjoy a relaxing reading spot in an informal garden setting. The Friends of the Homer Public Library received a grant from the Homer Foundation to maintain the garden, and a memorial bench and plaque will soon be added. The library staff hope Margret would be pleased that her garden, visible from both inside the library and out, brings joy and comfort to thousands of people each year.