6 March 2017

Help Your Public Library Do Eclipse Education & Outreach

Andrew Fraknoi Fromm Inst./U of San Francisco

Thanks to the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation (with help from Google), 2 million solar-eclipse glasses will be distributed free through public libraries in anticipation of the 21 August 2017 solar eclipse. More than 2,000 public libraries across the US will receive a package of free glasses plus an information booklet on how best to do public outreach about the eclipse.

The project was conceived by three astronomers: Andrew Fraknoi (Foothill College), Dennis Schatz (Pacific Science Center), and Douglas Duncan (University of Colorado). Together they brought the idea to Paul Dusenbery at the Space Science Institute, which already had an active network of libraries working with NASA to engage the public in space-science programming. Their STAR Library Education Network (STAR_Net) and its NASA @ My Library project are managing the program.

Many libraries will need public-outreach help from professional astronomers, amateur astronomers, and science educators who know about eclipses. This help will be most useful in the months and weeks leading up to the eclipse, so you can participate locally even if you plan to be in the path of totality on 21 August. A clickable map at the STAR_Net website shows participating libraries and provides contact information. You're encouraged to approach your own library and tell them about this project — and to get involved personally. This is a great way for everyone in the astronomical community to be of service to the public before the eclipse.