Friends of the Ohio County Public Library Embark on a New Chapter

The Friends of the Ohio County Public Library, Inc. in Wheeling is thrilled to announce its official incorporation by the West Virginia Secretary of State, marking the revival of the group’s commitment to amplifying the library’s impact on our community. The public charity’s mission is to support and complement the Ohio County Public Library’s goal to provide free and equal access to resources that assist the community to pursue knowledge, information, education, research, and recreation to promote an enlightened citizenry, encouraging lifelong learning, and enriching the quality of life for all. Although separate from the OCPL, the group is a valuable supporting partner of the library.

Originally organized in 1974, the group was responsible for establishing the Lunch With Books program in 1976 as well as organizing and managing the library’s first volunteer program in 1974.  Over the years, thousands of volunteer hours and significant financial contributions were provided by Friends’ members until their ultimate disbandment in 2007-08.  In the mid-1990s, the first group disbanded and a subsequent Friends group reemerged in the early aughts which existed for seven or eight years. At its peak, membership totaled 500 community library supporters.  

Recently, OCPL administrators convened a meeting to gauge whether or not community members were interested in reorganizing the Friends group and were met with a positive response. An organizing committee was formed, bylaws were written, and the newly formed Friends group with revised bylaws began meeting.

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Friends officers and directors include Charles A. Julian, president; Julie Coraccio, vice president; David T. Javersak, secretary; Jeanne H. Finstein, treasurer, and directors Michael Hires, Brigitte Mazure, and Chris Villamagna.

With the revival of the Friends group, officers invite the community to consider signing up to support their mission. Membership is open to anyone interested in supporting the goals, objectives, programs, and services of the Ohio County Public Library. A key future Friends project will be community education efforts related to the upcoming primary election excess levy to continue funding through the Ohio County Schools for the OCPL.

Julian noted, “We believe that support for the Ohio County Public Library is broad-based throughout the community and hope that library supporters will tangibly show their commitment by joining our organization and participating in our programs, activities, and initiatives. And, most of all, we encourage everyone to support stable funding for the library by voting in the primary election.”

More information on the Friends group can be found by visiting the Friends of the Ohio County Public Library’s Facebook page or by emailing   Membership forms are also available at the Ohio County Public Library’s circulation desk. The library is open Monday – Thursday from 9 a.m. – 9 p.m., Friday-Saturday from 9 a.m. – 5 p.m.