Long-time Canton Public Library employee Rebecca Havenstein-Coughlin passed away April 8 at her Canton home. She was one of the library's first employees, hired as a librarian in June, 1980, before the library opened on the third floor of the Canton Township administration building, and was instrumental in the growth of the library. Rebecca shared her thoughts on the library's growth in a recent video.
Rebecca loved books and reading, but she loved people even more. After serving as a librarian for a number of years, she moved into management and became the department head for information services, supervising the adult and youth librarians, and technical processing. Rebecca's number one priority was to provide excellent service for every person who walked into the library, and "Let's knock their socks off" became the rally cry for staff. A resident of Canton, Rebecca was personally invested in making the library an integral part of the community and was dedicated to service excellence and innovation.
"Rebecca loved the sunshine and being outside whenever she could, preferably with family and friends. Rebecca's primary library concerns also revolved around people and how we could make positive contributions to their lives," says Eva Davis, library director. "The library's construction projects over the last six years, particularly the children's library renovation, benefited from Rebecca's eye for the details that make the space wondrous and glorious and full of color and cheer for our patrons."
After being diagnosed with glioblastoma in 2017, she retired in 2018 and spent time with her husband, Michael Coughlin, whom she described as the love of her life. In 2019, the library dedicated a courtyard garden in honor of Rebecca. The Rebecca Havenstein-Coughlin Memorial Courtyard, which can be seen from the children's library and is a favorite nesting place for ducks, brings together Rebecca's love of the outdoors and her love for our community. Donations to help maintain the courtyard may be made at the link below.