Rockport — M. Hope Coffman, director of the Rockport Public Library, died at her home on May 27, 2014. Born in Hartford, Conn., on November 3, 1942, she was the daughter of the late Mr. and Mrs. Homer Root. A graduate of New Britain High School, she earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from Boston University, and a Master of Library Science from Simmons College Graduate School of Library and Information Science.
A consummate library professional, Hope possessed great erudition and boundless curiosity, sharing her love of books, music and art with all those she encountered. Inspired by personal instruction and engagement with a number of noted college and university professors, she had wide-ranging interests in literature, drama, the Renaissance, French philosophy, and the role of information science in enlightening the world. These passions were reflected in her daily existence and were passed on in many ways to those whose lives she touched.
Hope was a woman of exquisite taste and style, and fostered a sense of community and common purpose with her employees, colleagues and friends. In describing the Rockport Public Library, Hope was proud to call it “a community resource for all,” which also accurately describes the role that she herself played in the town of Rockport.
Prior to becoming director at the Rockport Public Library, Hope served for many years as the manager of the Technical Information Center at Charles Stark Draper Laboratory in Cambridge. She was an active member of the Special Libraries Association and was named a Fellow of the association in 1992.
Hope began her work in public libraries as assistant director of the Manchester Library. She became director of the Rockport Public Library on March 15, 1999. She
was instrumental in widening and enlivening the library’s appeal to its patrons, building an array of offerings, including book groups, feature films, author appearances, and a wide assortment of children’s programs year-round.