Southwell memorial is a ‘sanctuary for reading’ at Warren Public Library

A “sanctuary for reading” garden area was dedicated at the Warren Public Library on Monday afternoon, Aug. 11, made possible by gifts received by the library in memory of Paula Southwell.

As so very many memorial gifts poured in over the last year, library staff realized that it presented an opportunity to do something lasting and permanent. Library director Patty Sherbondy met with Paula’s parents, Butch and Cathy Southwell, and developed ideas for a reading sanctuary, since Paula was an avid reader and constant presence at the library all her life.

Sharon Miller of Richardson Landscaping took these ideas and turned them into a beautiful reality. Two pergolas surrounded by flowering vines and plants are located outside the library’s rear entrance onto the municipal parking lot, inviting passersby to pause and admire the surrounding beauty, to read, and to contemplate.

The dedication was attended by Paula’s family, friends, and library staff and board members. The ceremony consisted of remarks by Patty Sherbondy and Cathy Southwell, an invocation by the Rev. Jeff Ewing, the unveiling of the memorial stone by Paula’s sister Sarah, and a heartfelt toast to Paula.