"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.

No comments:

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..