Library celebrating anniversary

WHEELING – The Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling will participate in Wheeling’s Civil War 150 West Virginia Statehood Sesquicentennial Week celebration by offering a series of free programs in support of the event.

Programs include:

noon June 18, “Secession in Favor of the Constitution: How West Virginia Justified Separate Statehood During the Civil War.” David Zimring, University of Maryland history professor, will discuss the statehood movement at Lunch With Books. He also taught Civil War history at Virginia Tech and published a paper on West Virginia statehood in “West Virginia History: A Journal of Regional Studies.” He has presented at the Society of Civil War Historians Conference in Lexington, Ky., and at Appomattox Courthouse in Appomattox, Va.

Lunch With Books programs are free and open to the public. Patrons are invited to bring a bag lunch and free beverages are served.

7 p.m. June 18, “The People’s University American History II: The Civil War and Statehood.” David Javersak, West Virginia Sesquicentennial Committee member, will give a presentation on the Wheeling Conventions. Javersak’s lecture will answer questions such as: Why did Western Virginians choose Wheeling for their conventions? How and why did they create a Reorganized Government of Virginia? And how did a new state evolve from the deliberations at Wheeling’s Custom House?

People’s University programs are also free and open to the public.

The library’s celebration will continue at the third Wheeling Arts Fest from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. June 22 in the library’s auditorium.

The schedule is as follows:

11 a.m., “The History of Dance in the Ohio Valley. The Heritage Dance Association will give the presentation, which is part lecture and part dance demonstration.

Don Feenerty will be presenting the lecture, interspersed with dances by members of the Heritage Dance Association. The program is based on primary sources, mainly journal entries that mention dance, the style of dance and in some cases the names of dances – all taken from journals and books written by men who lived or traveled through Western Pennsylvania and Western Virginia. Dancers will be costumed in fashions of the 18th and 19th centuries.

1 p.m., “Poetry Prompts Suitable for Everyday Praxis.” Marc Harshman, West Virginia poet laureate, will host a hands-on writing workshop and discuss how things as mundane as lists, eavesdropping, headlines and imitation of voice, can provide material for new poems and re-imagining of existing poems.

2:30 p.m., “Songs and Poems of the Civil War and Statehood.” The program will feature the Quarter Tone Quartet and readers David Thomas and C.J. Farnsworth. It will include poems by Walt Whitman, Emily Dickinson and Stephen Crane and songs such as “Battle Cry of Freedom,” “West Virginia, My Home Sweet Home,” and “Aura Lee.”

The library will also sponsor the “Spoken Word Tent” from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. June 22 at the West Virginia Northern Community College square.

Local history and local interest books will be available for purchase.

Harshman will sign books from 11 a.m. to noon, and steamboat historian John Bowman will be available from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. Additional authors will be announced.

All events are free and open to the public. Call (304) 232-0244 or visit for information.