"I am completely smitten with the Lunch with Books patrons...who welcomed me like a long-lost cousin. It takes two to have a successful reading: an enthusiastic presenter and an engaged audience, and boy did the stars align for us." -Marie Manilla, Still Life with Plums

"Lunch With Books is an outstanding program -- one of the best in the country." -NPR Journalist Matthew Algeo, The President is a Sick Man

"With a new book in hand, I’ve visited a lot of libraries lately, and I think the Ohio County Public Library is my all-time favorite. People are kind and welcoming, and deeply appreciate a visiting writer." -Jaimy Gordon, Lord of Misrule (National Book Award)

“I wanted the book launch to be at Lunch With Books because it is the best library book program in West Virginia and because Wheeling and the Wheeling area was centrally involved in so many of the firsts in West Virginia sports.” –Bob Barnett, Hillside Fields: A History of Sports in West Virginia

This blog is being discontinued.

This blog is being discontinued.
Please visit: www.ohiocountylibrary.org/calendar

Thursday, October 28, 2010



The Lunch With Books program at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling will soon be revisiting the best and worst of times in regional professional football.

In the 1960s, the steel mills were operating at full capacity. People were working. Times were good. Even though the Pittsburgh Steelers were one of the worst teams in football, hardworking fans enjoyed their team’s grit and rough and tumble style. And Wheeling had its own minor league professional team in the Wheeling (Ohio Valley) Ironmen of the United and Continental Football Leagues. “The Ironmen represent more than professional penury.” Sports Illustrated reported in 1968, “In their own way they are the Packers in Green Bay, a breath of the big time in a small city, a wellspring of civic chauvinism.”

But by the 1970s, things were changing. The Iron-Belt was rusting and the Ironmen had been disbanded. The local economy was deteriorating.

First, on November 9 at noon, Doug Huff and Ann Thomas will be at Lunch With Books to discuss the decade-long rise and fall of Wheeling’s beloved IRONMEN. Mr. Huff has been a local sportswriter for decades and is the retired sports editor of the Wheeling Intelligencer. Mrs. Thomas’s husband Clyde Thomas (pictured) was a star running back for the team. The program will feature Ironmen memorabilia and photographs.

The following week will feature Art Rooney Sr. beloved founder of the Pittsburgh Steelers. Much as steel is forged from iron, the Pittsburgh Steelers emerged to soothe a badly stressed regional psyche. Two special programs will recall a benevolent and beloved old king and the dynasty he created after decades of failure. The hard earned success of Art Rooney’s Steelers helped comfort a generation.

On November 16 at noon, Lunch With Books will offer the first local screening of THE CHIEF, the marvelous film version of the one-man stage play written by Gene Collier and Rob Zellers. Tom Atkins stars as Art Rooney, and his portrayal is amazingly true to life. The stage play enjoyed seven sold-out seasons at Pittsburgh Public Theater before retiring in January 2010 and being captured on film. Art Rooney Sr. was the founder and owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers from 1933 until his death in 1988, and is one of the most beloved iconic figures in sports history. This film is publicly endorsed by the Rooney family, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Steelers Nation.

Originally, the library had scheduled the authors of the book The Ones Who Hit the Hardest about the Steelers of the 1970s for Thursday November 18th in the evening. That program was canceled by Penguin Publishing and has been replaced with the second screening of THE CHIEF beginning at 6:30 PM. Immediately after the film ends at about 8:00 PM, Pittsburgh sportswriter and co-author of the play, Gene Collier be on hand speak to the audience about the play and about Mr. Rooney and to answer audience questions. Copies of the script of THE CHIEF, now available in book form, will be available for purchase and signing by Mr. Collier. Don't miss this one of a kind opportunity to see the film and meet the writer.

The programs will also feature a splendid display of Steelers and Ironmen memorabilia.

People should know that these are much more than just sports or football programs. These are explorations of an era. We hope these programs will help some to remember and others to understand why most Ohio Valley residents will always regard the 70s with equal parts nostalgia and profound sadness. Just about everyone who lived through those days in this area was touched by a certain amount of economic trauma, and these programs will help explain how we coped, and continue to cope.

Lunch With Books programs are free and open to the public. Complimentary beverages are provided. Call the library at 304-232-0244 for more information.

People's University Videos Now Online!

The Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling has made the first three classes in its popular People’s University Series available online.

The first series is called “A History of Wheeling,” and is being presented by retired West Liberty University history professor, Dr. David Javersak. Video clips from each class are now available in segments of ten minutes or less on http://www.youtube.com/. The videos can be accessed on this page at bottom right, through the Lunch With Books Facebook page, or by visiting the Youtube web site and searching keywords “lunchwithbooks” or “history of Wheeling.”

The first class in the series covered Andrew Carnegie’s vision of the public library as a place of learning for all people, as well as his failed attempt to present a free Carnegie library to the city of Wheeling. Class two dealt with Wheeling as a frontier outpost, and class three with the transportation revolution that transformed the city. The fourth class, covering how Wheeling became the birthplace of the new state of West Virginia during the Civil War, will meet next Wednesday, November 3 at 7:00 PM in the library’s auditorium. Classes will continue on most Wednesday evenings at seven o’clock through December 15. Call the library at 304-232-0244 for more information. Videos of the remaining classes will be uploaded to Youtube as they are completed.

Beginning with class three, the video segments will include an American Sign Language interpreter for the hearing impaired. Videos of entire classes will also soon be made available for circulation in DVD format as a part of the library’s permanent collection.

Photo caption: Dr. David Javersak talks about Wheeling's transportation revolution while Denise Wycherley of West Virginia Northern Community College provides American Sign Language interpretation of the lecture.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

November 2: Catholic West Virginia with Ryan Rutkowski

Ryan Rutkowski, archivist for the Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, will be at Lunch With Books at the Ohio County Public Library on Tuesday November 2 at noon to discuss Images of America: Catholic West Virginia . Lunch With Books programs are free and open to the public. Patrons are invited to bring a bag lunch and free beverages are provided. Please call the library at 304-232-0244 for more information.

Book Description: Overcoming its tumultuous beginnings, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston has matured into a distinguished and active voice for West Virginians. One of the most unique aspects of the diocese's 160-year history is the diversity of the landscape, culture, ethnicity, and dialect that characterizes the state's identity. From Wheeling to Beckley and Martinsburg to Parkersburg, the story of our diocese comes from the individuals who established and nurtured the Catholic faith in their local communities. Without generations of the dedicated faithful, the diocese would not have thrived. Through a variety of images, this book tells the story of the generations that continued striving to give a voice to this unique Catholic community. In addition, professional researchers and local readers alike will find this volume's rare perspective of history through the lived experience of the subjects refreshing.

Author Bio: Ryan Rutkowski, director of archives and records for the Roman Catholic Diocese of Wheeling-Charleston, compiled Images of America: Catholic West Virginia after collecting photographs for the diocese's archives. A lifelong Catholic, Rutkowski presents images that reflect the faith, values, identity, and heritage of Catholic West Virginia. Test

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

October 26: CITIES OF THE DEAD...

In honor of Halloween, Jeanne Finstein and Judi Hendrickson will be at Lunch With Books at the Ohio County Public Library on Tuesday, October 26 at noon present Cities of the Dead: The Final Resting Places of Wheeling’s Famous & Infamous. The program will offer information about numerous people interred in various Wheeling Cemeteries, including Greenwood, Mt. Calvary, Mt. Wood, and Stone Church (among others) - along with images of the grave sites and people. Lunch With Books programs are free and open to the public. Patrons are invited to bring a bag lunch and free beverages are provided. Please call the library at 304-232-0244 for more information.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Cancellation and Consolation :( & :)

I received the following message regarding the Steelers book (The Ones Who Hit the Hardest) program previously scheduled for November 18 at 7 PM: "I am deeply saddened to inform you that Chad and Shawn will not be able to attend the event on Thurs, Nov 18th. I am truly sorry but due to unavoidable circumstances they will be unable to travel."

So long Old School Stillers Week. :(

I'm sorry for any inconvenience. Believe me, no one can be more disappointed than I. On a positive note, the screening of The Chief scheduled for the 16th at noon is still a very big GO! :)

No worries, the DVD does not have to travel and lacks the ability to cancel. The Chief will make us whole again.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

October 19: West Virginia Beauty

Author Jeanne Mozier (one of the most interesting guests we've hosted in my time at the library) will return to Lunch With Books at the Ohio County Public Library on Tuesday, October 19 at noon to discuss West Virginia Beauty: Familiar and Rare, which teams her with photographer Steve Shaluta. Together they have produced a love letter to the state in the form of a coffee table book. This book showcases the state's beauty, including amazing geography, wildlife, historic sites and more. Mozier also wrote Way Out in West Virginia. Lunch With Books programs are free and open to the public. Patrons are invited to bring a bag lunch and free beverages are provided. Please call the library at 304-232-0244 for more information.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010


Larry England, who worked for the Wheeling Tile Company for many years, will be at Lunch With Books at the Ohio County Public Library on Tuesday October 12 to share memories of the Wheeling business that spanned from 31st to 33rd Streets and manufactured high quality floor and wall tile products. Lunch With Books programs are free and open to the public. Patrons are invited to bring a bag lunch and free beverages are provided. Please call the library at 304-232-0244 for more information.

Friday, October 1, 2010



Andrew Carnegie called the public library “The People’s University.” He believed the public library was an essential institution of learning for people of all ages, and he knew that a vital part of the library’s mission was to provide the information and knowledge citizens needed. Today, the Ohio County Public Library seeks to continue to assist local residents in the pursuit of knowledge and education in order to promote an enlightened citizenry and to enrich their quality of life.
As a key element in achieving this goal, the OCPL will offer a new series of programs entitled, “The People’s University.” The series will cover the full range of liberal arts and provide an opportunity for adults to learn or refresh their knowledge of art, music, history, government, philosophy, and a variety of other areas of learning. Courses will be free of charge and presenters will be experts in the fields.

Series 1: A History of Wheeling

Instructor: Dr. David Javersak

Classes will meet on Wednesday evenings @ 7:00 PM, beginning Oct 13

Week 1 (Oct 13): The public library and Andrew Carnegie’s vision

Week 2 (Oct 20): Wheeling as a frontier outpost, 1769-1800

Week 3 (Oct 27): A transportation revolution transforms Wheeling, 1800-1860

Week 4 (Nov 3): Wheeling as the birthplace of a new state, 1860-1870

Week 5 (Nov 10): Wheeling as the premier city of West Virginia, 1870-1920

Week 6 (Nov 17): The “underside” of Wheeling

Nov 24: Library Closed at 5 for Thanksgiving Holiday – no class

Week 7 (Dec 1): Wheeling’s ethnic heritages

Week 8 (Dec 8): Wheeling in post-industrial America, 1950-2010

Week 9 (Dec 15) : Wheeling’s important structures and what they reveal

Call to register: 304-232-0244 or email lunchwithbooks@yahoo.com

Top Ten Lunch With Books Programs

Program; Presenter; Attendance; Date

1. SAENGERFEST; Eintracht German Singing Society; 200; 07-17-10

2. A Lucky Child; Auschwitz Survivor Judge Thomas Buergenthal; 198; 03-04-11

3. Fashion Show; Civil War 150; 194; 11-20-11

4. Ruanaidh; Art Rooney, Jr. and Jim O'Brien; 168; 06-15-10

5. Follow the River; James Alexander Thom; 160; 06-05-08

6. Warwood Memories; 157; 12-18-12

7. The Quiet Man Pub Reading; 150; 08-30-12

8. Wheeling Then and Now; Sean Duffy; 146; 09-07-10

9. Bloch Brother Tobacco; Stuart Bloch; 131; 04-27-10

10. Reasons to Believe; Dr. Scott Hahn; 126; 08-21-07

Book Discussion Groups

The Ohio County Public Library facilitates book discussion groups for both young adults and adults. Currently, the OCPL offers two adult groups, which meet on the first Monday and third Thursday of each month.

In addition to its own growing collection, the OCPL has access to the book discussion collection of the West Virginia Library Commission.

To join or form a book discussion group, or for more information, please call 304-232-0244.

Meeting of the Minds Philosophy Group

The Meeting of the Minds Philosophic Inquiry Forum is facilitated by David Weimer. The group meets virtually every Tuesday at 6 PM. Call the library for meeting room locations.

For more information, visit www.firstknowthyself.org/m&mphilosophy.htm or contact group organizer, David Weimer, at 740 526-0985 or by email at dwwweimer@comcast.net..