The People's University
Lifelong Learning at Your Library!
In 1951, the Ohio County Public Library's head librarian, Virginia Ebeling, referenced British historian Thomas Carlyle, who said, “the public library is a People’s University,” when she initiated a new adult education program with that name. Miss Ebeling charged the Library with the responsibility of reaching “as many people in the community as possible.” In keeping with that tradition of public libraries as sanctuaries of free learning for all people, the Ohio County Public Library revived the series in 2010.
The People’s University is a free program for adults who wish to continue their education in the liberal arts. It features courses—taught by experts in each subject—that enable patrons to pursue their goal of lifelong learning in classic subjects such as history, philosophy, and literature. Patrons may attend as many classes as they wish. There are no tests of other requirements and all programs are free and open to the public. And now you can watch online too!
LAST PU: Fairy Tales for Grown-Ups
For the Winter session 2022, People's University at the Ohio County Public Library offered a series on the origins of familiar fairy tales. Patrons were invited to gather around the campfire beneath a canopy of stars and planets to travel back in time to the early days of human story sharing for six Thursday evening sessions.
➤ View full program and class schedule details
➤ Download a .pdf file of the brochure of stop at the Library to pick up a paper copy
Class 1: Feb. 17 — "The Tale of Tales" — Instructor: Nancy Canepa; Music: West Liberty University West African Drums and Dancers; Storyteller: Vince Marshall, "The Ogre"
Class 2: Feb. 24 — "Toward a Theory of the Fairy Tale as a Literary Genre" — Instructor: Dr. Jack Zipes; Storyteller: Don Feenerty, "Hansel And Gretel"
Class 3: Mar. 3 — "Appalachian Fairy Tales" — Instructor & Storyteller: Bil Lepp
Class 4: Mar. 10 — "Bringing the Fairy Tale Back to the Horror Realm" — Instructor: Dr. Jessica R. McCort; Storyteller: TBA
Class 5: Mar. 17 — "Celtic Fairy Tales" — Instructor & Storyteller: Alan Irvine
Class 6: Mar. 24 — Puppetry Finale — Instructors: Irene Alby, Professor of Acting and Directing, and Mary McClung, Professor of Costume Design and Puppetry, both from the School of Theatre and Dance at West Virginia University; Storytellers: WVU School of Theatre and Dance, "Three Little Pigs" and Aesop’s Fables
➤ Fall 2010: People's University: The History of Wheeling with David Javersak
➤ Summer Reading 2020: People's University Livestream: Around the World in Literature & Language
➤ Fall 2020: People's University Livestream - The Struggle for Women’s Rights
➤ Jan. 7, 2021: People's University Livestream - Wheeling's Last Trolley
(this is a special program to accompany the Library's Bill Gwinn street car exhibit)
➤ Winter 2021: People's University Livestream - Physical Science
➤ Spring/Summer 2021: People's University Livestream - Bugs & People
➤ Winter 2021: People's University In-Person and Livestream - The Cold War
➤ Winter 2022: People's University In-Person and Livestream - Fairy Tales for Grown-Ups
Subscribe to the People's University YouTube channel or like us on the People's University Facebook page or to receive notifications of our upcoming People's U broadcasts. To receive emails about our upcoming programs, visit our News page, click the "Subscribe" button to sign-up for our news blasts or download our free OCPL Connect app from your smartphone's app store.
List of all OCPL's People's University Series:
In October 2010, the Ohio County Public Library launched the new People's University series at the Ohio County Public Library, with Dr. David Javersak, retired professor of history at West Liberty University, presenting a nine-class "History of Wheeling" at the library (that entire lecture series is available to view online by clicking the link below). Since 2010, the Library has offered over 30 People's University series, with several additional single class lectures offered in between series.
- The History of Wheeling (Fall 2010)
- World Geography (Spring 2011)
- American Literature (Summer 2011)
- Music Appreciation (Fall 2011)
- Government (Spring 2012)
- American History I: Pre-colonial, Colonial, and Founding periods (Fall 2012)
- Art History (Winter 2012/13)
- American History II: The Civil War & Statehood (Summer 2013)
- A Cartoon History of the United States (Fall 2013)
- World Philosophy (Winter 2013)
- Astronomy (Spring 2014)
- American History III: The Gilded Age Through the Jazz Age (Summer 2014)
- Anti-Semitism and the Holocaust (Fall/Winter 2014)
- The Civil War 1865 and the Lincoln Legacy (Spring 2015)
- Archaeology (Summer 2015)
- Biology, Regional Flora and Fauna (Fall 2015)
- Shakespeare (Spring 2016)
- Appalachian Music & Folklore (Summer 2016)
- The History of Wheeling Reprise (Fall 2016)
- The First World War (Spring 2017)
- West Virginia History through Archives: Preserving the Mountain State’s Stories (Fall 2017)
- Mathematics 1: Making Sense of Math (Winter 2018)
- World War II (Summer 2018)
- West Virginia Watersheds (Early Fall 2018)
- Human Rights (Late Fall 2018)
- Wild, Wonderful, & Weird Wheeling Stories (Spring 2019)
- Wheeling 250 - Wheeling's Labor History (Fall 2019)
- Wheeling 250 - Wheeling in Literature (Winter 2019)
- Around the World in Literature & Language (Summer Reading 2020)
- The Struggle for Women’s Rights (Fall 2020)
- Physical Science (Winter 2021)
- Bugs & People (Spring/Summer 2021)
- The Cold War (Winter 2021/22)
- Fairy Tales for Grown-Ups (Winter 2022)
View OCPL's Programming Calendar.
People's University "WWII" Runs May 29-July 24, 2018
The next subject in the Ohio County Public Library's popular People’s University series will be the Second World War. This series, featuring an impressive array of historians and experts, will run in conjunction with the “We Can Do It! WWII” Traveling Exhibit from the Senator John Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh, on display at the Ohio County Public Library May 26 through July 24, 2018.
Photos from A History of Wheeling, Class 1: Frontier Wheeling, A Clash of Cultures
Everything Old is New Again at the People's University!
New People's University: A History of Wheeling With Dr. David Javersak (November 01-December 20, 2016)
The latest series in the People's University program at the Ohio County Public Library in Wheeling will explore the history and culture of Wheeling, West Virginia. Classes will meet on Tuesday evenings at 7 PM, from November 1 through December 20 in the library's auditorium. The series, which will be presented entirely by Dr. David Javersak, is a new edition of the first ever and most popular People’s University series, first offered six years ago.
Classes begin on Tuesday, November 1 at 7 PM with Frontier Wheeling, the Clash of Cultures.
The remainder of the schedule for People’s University, A History of Wheeling:
- Class 2 (November 8): Wheeling as an Entrepot
- Class 3 (November 15): Wheeling as the Premier City of West Virginia
- Class 4 (November 22): The Underside of Wheeling’s History
- Tuesday, November 29 –NO CLASS
- Class 5 (December 6): Wheeling’s Ethnic History
- Class 6 (December 13): Contemporary Wheeling
- Class 7 (December 20): Wheeling Streetscapes, Past & Present (Featuring Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps)
Instructor Dr. David Javersak is emeritus Dean of Liberal Arts and professor of history at West Liberty University, where he taught a very popular class on the History of Wheeling from which this series was adapted.
The People's University was created to help fulfill the library’s mission to be a sanctuary of free learning for all people. It is a program for adults who wish to continue their education in the liberal arts, through courses — taught by experts in each subject — that enable patrons to pursue their goal of lifelong learning in classic subjects such as science, history, philosophy, and literature. The program is free and open to the public. To rsvp for The People’s University A History of Wheeling, please call the library at 304-232-0244, send an email to [email protected], or visit the Reference Desk. Remember, classes are free and open to the public. There are no grades, and registration is not a commitment. You are welcome to attend all or only some classes. Complimentary refreshments will be provided. For more information, visit www.ohiocountylibrary.org.
Back to Calendar
Photos from Appalachian Music & Folklore
Week 3, Doug Van Gundy
Week 1, Travis Stimeling
Scenes from People's University, Shakespeare, Spring 2016:
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