Cordell honored for volunteerism

VIENNA – Bob Cordell is a retired history professor with West Virginia University at Parkersburg, but his love of history continues on through his love of speaking in front of crowds.

By lecturing on history topics at the Vienna Public Library at 2300 First Ave., he is able to volunteer his knowledge and time to his community, he said.

“I’m a volunteer, which means I don’t get paid, Cordell said. “That’s not why I do it.”

The library staff, including Jill Chidester, the adult services coordinator for the Vienna Public Library, played a hand in nominating Cordell for a recent award from Gov. Earl Ray Tomblin’s office stemming from his volunteerism.

The staff nominated the history buff last April. He was awarded the 2013 Governor’s Service Award to recognize his outstanding community service and commitment to his community.

Cordell said he enjoys speaking in front of crowds and by creating topics, including U.S. presidents and “first couples,” he is able to share his knowledge with the community.

He tries to keep the interest of the community, including bringing the occasional Crock-Pot of soup for the 60 to 80 people attending the lectures.

“It was just fun,” Cordell said of the day he paired the hot liquid with his speech about Helen Keller. “Some people stayed for the lecture.”

Alice Thomas, director of the Vienna Public Library, said she enjoys having Cordell speak at the library as well as including the rest of the community in the events at the library. Renovations and updates are being done to improve the look of the library for Vienna residents, she said.

Thomas said the library isn’t just about the books; it offers free WiFi, computer lab, children’s weekly story hour, summer and holiday reading programs, adult crafts, “knit nights” and programs for teenagers.

Cordell said his volunteering wouldn’t be possible without the help of the library staff.

“It’s far more than about books; this is a community service information center,” he said. “They have a wealth of programs.”

Cordell speaks at the library on a monthly basis from September to May. For more information on upcoming events visit the library’s website at or on Facebook at