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Used book sale back at Watt Center

BARNESVILLE — Book lovers have a chance to stock up on winter reading material during the Barnesville Pumpkin Festival Sept. 23-24.

The annual used book sale at the Watt Center for History and the Arts will return during the festival with even more books to choose from according to Mary Sidwell, who works at the center. Festival-goers are invited to browse the shelves and take a break from the big crowds along Main Street.

Sidwell said there are thousands of books available with authors and titles to interest all ages. Fiction and non-fiction selections are located throughout the historic Watt Car and Wheel Co. office building at 515 Watt Ave., just east of the Barnesville B&O Railroad Station. She said ample parking is available at The Watt Center, at no charge.

The sale begins with an “Early Bird Special” from 4-6 p.m. Wednesday for an entry fee of $5. Regular hours at no entry fee are 4-8 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday.

On Sunday books are offered for $1 per bag full.

“In addition to all the used books, we will have books that The Watt Center has reprinted. These all focus on local history: ‘1808 -1908 Centennial Souvenir,’ ‘Barnesville’s 200 Years, A Pictorial History,’ ‘History of Barnesville, Ohio’ by R. H. Taneyhill, ‘Memoirs of Civil War History’ by John W. Laughlin (written in 1914),” Sidwell said in an email.

“Visitors to the book sale have widely diverse interests so we shelve the books loosely by topic — fiction separate from non-fiction. So everything from history and politics to cookbooks and gardening! Seven rooms and hallways full of used books.”

She said there are typically 150 to 200 people perusing the shelves.

“It is difficult to predict turnout for the Pumpkin Festival and specifically for our used book sale. Folks will be welcome to handle the books, as usual, and of course those who wish to protect themselves and others may wear masks in the historic building,” Sidewell said.

Also for sale will be The Watt Center’s annual calendar. Sidwell said the 2022 calendar will celebrate places in western Belmont County that people might wish to explore after months of pandemic restrictions.

Proceeds from all sales benefit the programs and mission of The Watt Center for History & the Arts, an all-volunteer community organization.

“The used book sale is our single largest annual fundraising effort,” she said. “This income supports our annual operational expenses and events. Our next event will be on Oct. 21 when rail history expert David Adair will share the history of the old narrow gauge railroad that ran from Bellaire to Woodsfield and Zanesville, fondly remembered as the ‘Bent, Zigzag and Crooked.'”

A ground floor entrance on the north side of the building, ramp and chair lifts make access to The Watt Center available to all. Sidwell invites everyone to browse the wide variety of used books and enjoy discovering the features of one of Barnesville’s fascinating historic buildings.

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