GALLIPOLIS — To the generation that lived 100 years ago, it was the Great War — the “war to end all wars” — but in the ensuing century and as the last veterans died, World War I has moved into the realm of history, but its legacy has not faded.
This weekend, Bossard Memorial Library will honor this legacy the library presents two World War I scholars and marks the 100th anniversary of the start of the First World War.
“In planning programs to offer to the community, the library staff always considers commemorative events in history as potential topics of interest. With 2014 marking the centenary of WWI, we thought this would be a very fitting time to offer WWI programs so attendees can learn more about this critical point in world history,” Library Director Debbie Saunders commented.
Programming will begin at 10:30 a.m. Saturday as Bossard Memorial Library features Dr. Samuel Wilson, professor of history at the University of Rio Grande/Rio Grande Community College and a noted authority on Eastern European history.
Wilson, who has also lent the library a portion of his extensive collection of World War I items that are currently on display there, is expected to not only speak about the implications the Great War has had on society and warfare, both in the United States and abroad, but also, more specifically, about World War I flying ace William C. “Bill” Lambert of Ironton, whose life Wilson has researched extensively.
Following at 2 p.m. Sunday, a program on Camp Sherman will be presented by John Doerres, president of Camp Sherman Inc.
Located in Ross County, Camp Sherman was commissioned on Aug. 27, 1917, and was the third-largest training camp in the nation during World War I. Soldiers from Ohio, West Virginia and parts of Pennsylvania were all trained at the camp before they left American shores to fight in the Great War.
Saunders said she and the Bossard Memorial Library staff are happy to present two noted local scholars on World War I and she encourages the public to attend these free events.
“Bossard is pleased to be able to offer two unique World War I-related programs during our WWI Weekend event. To have the opportunity to hear both Dr. Sam Wilson, URG professor, and John Doerres of Camp Sherman Inc. in the same weekend, as they will share their wealth of knowledge on this historical subject, will certainly create a unique library experience for those in attendance,” she said.
Saunders further discussed the library’s new building addition that is currently under construction on the First Avenue side of library located on Spruce Street. The addition, which will provide more space for the library to offer both adult and children’s programs, such as the upcoming World War I weekend, is expected to be completed later this year or early in 2015.
“The library’s building addition and renovation will be completed during the upcoming winter months. This new addition will enable the library to accommodate larger audiences for these programs and will also enable the library to provide a wider variety of programs as well,” Saunders said.
As a supplement to the upcoming programs this weekend, library patrons can also browse the large collection of World War I materials as they continue their education on the subject.
“The publishing world has seen a myriad of new books released this year on the topic of World War I. I encourage patrons to visit the library to browse our comprehensive display of World War I books near the library’s front entrance,” Saunders said. “Patrons may use their library card to borrow these books, as well.”
Saunders further encourages the community to get involved at their library as the staff at Bossard continues to offer more programs to its patrons, and also continues to provide the services that the community has come to depend upon.
“Bossard plays a large role in creating lifelong learning opportunities for those in our community. Bossard Memorial Library belongs to the citizens of Gallia County, serving as the county’s district library. Our goal is to create a library experiences for all ages in our community, be it through a library program, through the borrowing of items, through the use of the Internet, and the list goes on and on of the services we provide to library patrons,” Saunders said. “To paraphrase a quote by former White House Press Secretary Bill Moyers, ‘A library reminds one about one’s past, present, and most, of the possibilities of the future.’ By offering programming to those in our community, we create these lifelong learning opportunities that will do just that — remind us of the past, teach us about the present, and prepare us for the future.”
For more information on the upcoming World War I weekend at Bossard Memorial Library, call (740) 446-7323 or log on to www.bossardlibrary.org.