RIO GRANDE — The University of Rio Grande and Rio Grande Community College works to connect the community to educational opportunities outside of the classroom.
To continue this effort, Professor of History Dr. Sam Wilson is teaming up with Bossard Library in Gallipolis to begin a book club focusing on Civil War history. The round-table book club will meet quarterly at Bossard Library with the first meeting set for 10 a.m. Saturday, May 11. Wilson said he believes it is important for Rio to provide opportunities for educational discussion off campus as a way to connect with the community.
“The faculty, staff and administration here at Rio take any opportunity we can to give back to our community and are heavily involved in a number of groups in the area. We feel it’s important to share our work as educators and form networks between Rio and different organizations within the region,” Wilson said. “We hope the community will continue to join us as the book club progresses and they will take pride in the books they’ve read and look forward to it. Opportunities like this book club really can make a difference to people, and as an educational institution, Rio wants to make activities like this accessible to the community.”
The first book the club will discuss is “The War that Forged a Nation,” by James McPherson. The book gives in depth looks into the impact the war has had on the history of the United States and the influence it still has generations later. Wilson said he feels this is an important starting point because of the work’s significance in scholarly research regarding the Civil War area.
“McPherson is a Pulitzer Prize winning author and is considered very renowned in the field of Civil War history. His work over the last forty years has been instrumental in fully understanding the war itself. We thought this would be an appropriate book to start the club because the focus of this book is to explain why the Civil War still matters and why we need to learn about it,” Wilson said. “This book club is a way we can bring people with similar interests together for an entertaining and educational discussion. It’s also a great way to share the significance of our area during the Civil War. One of the two major Civil War battlefields in the north is Buffington Island in Meigs County and routes of the Underground Railroad ran through this area, so the war hits closer to home than many people realize.”
Both the Davis and Bossard Libraries work to bring a variety of educational opportunities and resources to the community. The Bossard Library’s Adult Programing Associate Lynn Pauley said she believes it is important to connect with the community through collaboration and offering a variety of activities covering a wide variety of interests.
“Rio and the Bossard Library service many of the same people and we want them to be able to take advantage of the services we both offer. Sometimes the best way to do this and help our patrons is for us to be present in the community and collaborate with each other as well as other organizations in the area,” Pauley said. “It’s important to help spread awareness and interest of history and the impact it has had on our local area. I love learning about history, so I’m personally very excited for the first meeting. The library is a central location in a community, and events like this book club are a fun way for people to get out and meet others who have similar interests.”
“The War that Forged a Nation” is available to borrow at Bossard library or through interlibrary loans at the Davis Library. Anyone interested in more information about the book club can contact Sam Wilson at firstname.lastname@example.org or Lynn Pauley at the Bossard Library at 740-446-7323 ex. 229.
Jessica Patterson is a communications specialist with the University of Rio Grande.