Stillwater Stargazers Library Telescope Program

The best thing that we’re put here for’s to see;
The strongest thing that’s given us to see with’s a telescope.
Someone in every town seems to me owes it to the town to keep one.
In Littleton it may as well be me.

Those words from Robert Frost’s poem, “The Star Splitter” so eloquently summarize the idea behind NHAS’s Library Telescope Program. We, the members of the Stillwater Stargazers Astronomy Club of Troy agree.

The New Hampshire Astronomical Society, and particularly its Education-Outreach Committee, started placing telescopes and educational materials in selected libraries in NH beginning in Dec 2008.

From a humble beginning of two scopes placed in 2008, the program has grown beyond expectations to include more than130 libraries in New Hampshire. Placing the telescopes in local public libraries instead of schools, allows greater general access to the scope since they can be put into circulation just as book.

Here in Miami County, a local Stillwater Stargazer Club member will act as a foster parent to the scope. He or she will periodically clean and adjust the telescope, and act as a local astronomical resource to the library patrons. Additionally, a library member or student from a local school could be engaged as an apprentice astronomer to provide needed care to the scope.

The Stillwater Stargazers Astronomy Club (SSAC) has selected an appropriate telescope for the libraries, along with a zoom eyepiece and supportive material. We have re-written the instruction manual and provide a laminated, and bound 4 by 6 inch copy with each scope. The prepared telescope is easy to use and robust. There is nothing to assemble. It has a wooden base and a sturdy mount. The telescope is of manageable size, but has a relatively large optical tube. This means that the Moon and deep sky objects will show far more detail than one could see with the common “beginners” telescope. It also has a large field of view that allows the object to stay in the zoom eyepiece longer. We (SSAC) also have used this telescope and another quality beginner scopes for our Library Lending Telescope (LLT). It weighs about 15lbs and easily carried by an adult.

The Library Scope Project continues to be very well-received. Each participating library typically has a waiting list for their telescopes, and has set up book displays with the telescope as a centerpiece. We at SSAC are very proud of the success of the program and are delighted to provide an opportunity to further share our love of the night sky in this unique way. Thank you for visiting and taking an interest in our work. Please feel free to copy this program and the materials about the project

We currently have 8 library telescope locations  at the Troy, West Milton-Union, New Carlisle, Greenville, Covington,  Bradford,  Ansonia and St. Paris public libraries.

We provide, for a reasonable cost, a telescope prepared for libraries with a zoom eyepiece, a sturdy mount, and a pack containing a manual and monthly “Sky Sights” write-up to aid the beginner’s experience.

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