GALLIPOLIS — In the words of Bossard Memorial Library Director Debbie Saunders, it is a moment woven into the fabric of our local history, and, during a special program to be held this Saturday afternoon, the public will have a chance to recount their own personal histories of the Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967.
The program, which will begin at 1 p.m. at the library on Spruce Street in Gallipolis, will feature Don Goosman, a speaker affiliated with the Point Pleasant River Museum.
Goosman will discuss his experiences and knowledge of the Silver Bridge collapse and will also open the floor for those in attendance to ask questions or share their own experiences of December 15, 1967.
In addition, Ruth and Martha Fout of the Point Pleasant River Museum will be on hand Saturday afternoon signing and selling their recently released book, The Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967.
The book was released last fall and is co-authored by the Fouts along with Stephan Bullard and Bridget Gromek, both of the University of Hartford of Connecticut.
On Saturday, the books are expected to be sold at retail price.
According to Saunders, holding a program about the disaster that coincides with the recent release of The Silver Bridge Disaster of 1967 is important for the library, as the Silver Bridge collapse that claimed 46 lives has been and remains one of the most popular reference topics researched by library patrons.
“It’s a large topic of interest in our area — one with local history ties — and it’s the kind of thing that attracts people’s attention. They keep wanting to know more,” Saunders said. “It remains one of our top inquiries, and it has through the years here — people are just drawn to it.”
Bossard, as with other public libraries in the Ohio Valley, keeps a store of information on file about the Silver Bridge collapse and also has several circulating and non-circulating copies of the newly released book.
The popularity of the topic, according to Saunders and her colleague, Adult Services and Reference Services Associate Lynn Pauley, can be directly attributed to the widely reaching effects the collapse of the bridge had on the local population.
“That’s what we want part of this program to be, for people to say, ‘I remember where I was, and this is what I remember,’” Saunders said. “For those us who weren’t living at that time — were born after the fact — we heard the stories from our parents and our grandparents. So, it really is weaved into the fabric of our local history.”
Saturday’s program, according to Saunders, is part of Bossard’s adult programming — a portion of the library’s programming that Saunders, with the aid of Pauley, is interested in continuing to expand to further accommodate the wants and needs of adult patrons.
“We want the public’s input on what type of programs they would like to see because it is their library, and we want the services to reflect their wants and their needs. That is a goal that we have, and we want them to help us accomplish that by giving us that feedback,” Saunders commented.
The library director further encouraged patrons with input for adult services to bring those ideas to the library’s attention as those ideas very well could be incorporated into the plans for adult programming in the year ahead and even into 2014.
“We want to grow adult programming and offer more and more for the community, so if patrons have ideas for adult programs that they would like to see us do, they’re free to contact Lynn Pauley or myself,” Saunders said. “They are welcome to call the library and recommend those to us, so we can incorporate some of those, if possible, in some of our future plans.”
Additional adult programs that are upcoming at the library include a presentation by Leslie Heaphy, associate professor of history at Kent State University, on Negro baseball leagues in Ohio. This program, that is being held in honor of African American History Month, will begin at 2 p.m. on February 23 at the library.
Basic computer classes, of seven people per class, are also upcoming at the library. Classes will be offered on a first come, first serve basis and are taught by Pauley. Adults who are interested can contact Pauley to be placed on a list for an upcoming class. After signing up, individuals will be contacted on class times.
Additionally, the adult winter reading program is ongoing and will continue until March 16. Within the adult reading program, patrons can earn prizes for reaching reading goals.
Also of interest to readers in the area is the upcoming book sale sponsored by the Friends of Bossard Library. The sale will be held from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. on February 9 and from 1-3 p.m. on February 10 at the library, weather permitting.
For more information on adult programming or any other services offered by Bossard Memorial Library of Gallipolis, call (740) 446-7323 (READ).
Information can also be found on Bossard’s website, www.bossard.lib.oh.us.