The Donald W. Reynolds Library Serving Baxter County is pleased to announce that library patrons are now able to check out astronomical telescopes to take home and enjoy. Funding for these telescopes comes from NASA via the Arkansas Space Grant Consortium.
The Arkansas Natural Sky Association (ANSA) is spearheading this Rural Library Telescope Lending Program, initially in 7 counties along and near the Buffalo National River (BNR). Last year, the BNR was awarded the first International Dark Sky Park certification in the state. ANSA worked with the BNR management and staff to make necessary changes to park lighting practices and complete the application.
ANSA State Chair James “Bruce” McMath said “Our mission is to lead the effort in Arkansas to restore and preserve our natural night sky environment, free of the light pollution which has crept over much of the state in recent decades. One of our strategies for working to achieve this mission, besides working to reduce unnecessary night time lighting, is to educate, motivate, and encourage Arkansans to get outside at night and see what a treasure our night sky truly is.”
According to Library volunteer, and Arkansas Master Naturalist, Jeffrey Hoeper, “These telescopes are not toys but at the same time, no prior experience is needed to enjoy the night sky. Adult supervision, however, is required to get the most out of the experience. The single most important bit of training essential for safe use is for patrons to NEVER USE THESE TELESCOPES TO LOOK AT THE SUN as permanent eye damage will result.”
Library Director Kim Crow Sheaner said “This is a tremendous educational opportunity for families to explore the night sky. We are very grateful to ANSA for making this happen for our community.”
Patrons can check out the telescopes for a one-week period, and will be asked to sign an agreement covering the terms of check out. Simple step-by-step instructions will be provided.
If you would like to find out more about the Arkansas Natural Sky Association, visit www.darkskyarkansas.org. For more information or to help support the ANSA Rural Library Telescope Lending Program, contact ANSA program coordinator Allan Staib at email@example.com. For more information on Baxter County Library’s special collections, visit www.baxlib.org/books-more-special-collections.
Inspiring Imagination | Igniting Interests | Enabling Learning
Last Modified October 22, 2020