Garrettsville renames Youth Library to honor longtime librarian Terri Lawless

Garrettsville librarian Terri Lawless will have a wing of the library named after her. Submitted photo

For children who attended the storytime program at the Garrettsville Library, Terri Lawless created a safe space for them to be happy, spark their imagination and build their love for reading. The kids called her Miss Terri.

Lawless was a lifelong resident of Portage County and worked at the Garrettsville Library for almost 50 years until she died of complications from Covid-19 in September 2021. She was 64 years old.

“She was very kind. She made kids feel important,” said Ellen Eckhouse, the president of Friends of the Garrettsville Library, a volunteer group that works to keep the library an effective resource in the Portage County community.  

The Friends of the Garrettsville Library have come together to honor the late librarian by renaming the Youth Library in her name — a dedication that shows the respect and care the community had for the beloved Miss Terri. 

“She just made people feel happy. So many kids who are grown up have very, very fond memories of going to storytime [with her],” Eckhouse said.

The Portage County District Library approved the Friends’ request to rename the Youth Room. They plan to install updates to the room in December and dedicate the space in January, said Cindy Sheehan, secretary-treasurer of Friends of the Garrettsville Library.

“She was just always humble and sweet,” Sheehan said. “She was a really good person.”

Sheehan and her family befriended Lawless after working with her for a few years. Prior to her death, Lawless was also the secretary-treasurer of Friends of Garrettsville Library. 

“I think it’s a really nice way to honor her in this way because she put so much of herself in the library,” Eckhouse said. “To have that room named after Terri, I just think it’s a beautiful way to remember her and to show our appreciation.” 

Lawless’s legacy will live on as new generations of children discover their love for reading as they sit in the room that she told stories in for 47 years.

“It was always such a pleasant feeling when I was with her,” Sheehan said. 

If you are looking to help with the dedication to Miss Terri, you can write a check to the Portage District Library by dropping it off or sending it through mail to 10482 South Street in Garrettsville, OH 44321.  

Jala Forest
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