WILTON, Conn., -- Wilton Library patrons have long been able to borrow books, magazines, music and movies. And now they can check out a telescope.
Susan Lauricella, head of teen services and the Maker Space coordinator, said it's a unique piece of lending material. The Wilton Library may be blazing a trail with it, she said.
"I am not positive but I think we are the first in Connecticut to offer this," Lauricella said.
It was a library staff member who had read about a Massachusetts library that got a telescope, and they discovered that many libraries in New England were adding telescopes to their collections. In particular, the Granite State seemed to be leading the way as the New Hampshire Astronomical Society, through its library telescope program, is helping that state's libraries to acquire telescopes, Lauricella said.
She contacted a librarian in New Hampshire to talk about the program and about the telescope they used.
Money from the Amadeo Family Fund that the library controls was used to purchase the $200 Orion 10015 Starblast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope.
"It was the one that the other libraries all seemed to have," Lauricella said."It is sturdy and light enough. We hope people will be able to use this as a tool to learn."
The telescope can be borrowed free of charge by any adult Connecticut library card holder for a week at a time. It comes in a protective case on wheels and is accompanied by a carrying bag containing two telescope eyepieces, binoculars, three books, a night sky foldout, an LED light on a lanyard, and a planisphere, a star chart computing instrument.
Those interested can search “lending telescope” in Wilton Library’s online catalog at www.wiltonlibrary.org, or email email@example.com to place a hold on the telescope. A five-minute orientation meeting is required when the telescope is picked up at Wilton Library.
The telescope is part of the resources that the library's Innovation Station that helps promote STEM learning --science, technology, engineering, and math.
For more information on the lending telescope and Innovation Station, call 203-762-3950, Ext. 243.
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