By Kathy Moss
For nearly four decades, Hope Merryfield was a force within the East Geauga Friends of the Library (EGFL) in Middlefield. She served as a committee member, the secretary, a fundraiser and, for more than 20 years, as President of the group. Her dedication to the library and promotion of reading and libraries earned her the Geauga County Library Foundation’s prestigious Chapman Award in 2004.
When Hope passed away in late 2017, her family requested any memorial gifts made in her memory be designated to the EGFL. This was the beginning of a search of establishing a lasting tribute to honor Hope. The Executive Committee met and discussed ideas from concerts in honor of Hope’s love of music, to a walking storybook throughout the grounds. They finally decided on reading benches for patrons to be placed in front of the library. The idea, along with adding the necessary additional funds, was overwhelmingly approved by the membership at their annual meeting.
After much discussion with Director Ed Warso, the Geauga County Public Library Board of Trustees gave its final approval and the benches are now in place in the perennial garden by the front windows. EGFL President Linda Smallwood worked with Exscape Designs of Novelty, Ohio, to design and install the patio for the benches. Since it was decided it best to use a plastic composite material for the benches to withstand the Northeast Ohio winter weather, Smallwood contacted Wayside Furniture on State Route 700 in Troy Township to get just the right ones.
The Hope Merryfield Memorial Reading benches are now in place. Stop by the Middlefield Library to see this wonderful tribute to Hope Merryfield for her years of service.
The reading benches were placed in the perennial garden patio in memory of Hope Merryfield at the Middlefield Branch by the East Geauga Friends of the Library. (MP Photo/EGFL)