Library Group Honors Casto

By Bob Withers
The Herald-Dispatch
October 4, 2006

HUNTINGTON -- The West Virginia Library Association, meeting at the Radisson Hotel Huntington this week, bestowed its Literary Merit Award on James E. Casto, senior public information specialist for the Robert C. Byrd Institute for Advanced Flexible Manufacturing and retired associate editor of The Herald-Dispatch.

The presentation was made Tuesday night at a banquet.
A native of Huntington, Casto attended Bethany College at Bethany, W.Va., and is a graduate of Marshall University, where he earned a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in English.

Active in community affairs, he's a board member with the United Way of the River Cities Inc., Goodwill Industries, the Huntington Area Food Bank, the Tri-State Area Boy Scout Council, Friends of the Cabell County Public Library, Marshall University Library Associates and the West Virginia Faculty Merit Foundation.

Casto was instrumental in establishing the Friends Division of the West Virginia Library Association. The Cabell County Public Library's genealogy research center recently was renamed the "James E. Casto Local History Room" in his honor.

His books include "Huntington: An Illustrated History," "Towboat on the Ohio," "West Virginia Mountain Majesty," "Cabell County," "Southern West Virginia: Coal Country," "Marshall University" and -- coming next week -- "The Chesapeake & Ohio Railway."

He also contributed to the West Virginia Encyclopedia and has written histories for St. Mary's Medical Center and Cabell Huntington Hospital and several magazine articles.

On Monday, the association bestowed the same honor on Jeannette Walls, an MSNBC gossip columnist and author of "Dish" and "The Glass Castle," who once lived in Welch, W.Va.

The association has bestowed the award most years since 1954. Past recipients have included Jim Comstock, longtime editor of "The West Virginia Hillbilly"; Ken Hechler, former West Virginia secretary of state and congressman from the Mountain State and author of "The Bridge at Remagen"; and Homer H. Hickham Jr., author of "Rocket Boys."

The association also presented a Certificate of Merit Award to Betty Hamilton of Red House, W.Va., head of circulation at the Putnam County Public Library's main branch in Hurricane. A Dora Ruth Parks Award went to Summers County librarian Myra Ziegler of Hinton.

Copyright © 2005 The Herald-Dispatch


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