Beauty of eclipse matched by beauty of community sharing

A crowd of more than 200 people from the Brookline area gathered on Monday afternoon to participate in the Brookline Public Library’s solar eclipse event at the Brookline Ball Field.

Activities kicked off at 1 p.m. with the dedication of Brookline’s first Little Free Library. This project was initiated by the Library Trustees to make books available to all, at anytime. Brookliner and volunteer Jack Fallon built the small library himself, with donations from local businesses. He allowed himself to be ‘roped into’ building the structure, as he good-naturedly admitted, both as a way to honor his parents and to give back to the community.

“I’d like to pass on the love of reading that my parents inspired in us,” said Fallon. Jack’s mother joined him for the dedication ceremony.

Please use and enjoy the Little Free Library by taking a book, or leaving a book to share with others. For more information on Little Free Libraries, check our website: bplnh.weebly.com.

The eclipse

The library received 200 pairs of eclipse glasses through a grant in cooperation with NASA and the Space Science Institute. Fifty pairs were handed out in the weeks before the eclipse, and it only took moments to hand out the remaining 150 pairs to those who had lined up as early as 11:30 a.m. for the event.

While people waited for the eclipse to start, they explored displays and activities set up by library staff. Some browsed books about the eclipse and our solar system, and about the history and mythology around eclipses. A display of eclipse legends from many different world cultures led into an activity for event goers to create their own legend.

Children’s Programming Coordinator Bettielue Hill led a walk among the rocky planets. Starting with a 4-foot sun, participants walked a scale model of the four inner planets of our solar system. Scaled to that 4-foot sun, Earth was just a half-inch sphere, 400 feet from the sun!

In addition to the glasses, library staff had created several ways to watch the eclipse safely and indirectly at the peak viewing time of 2:45 p.m. Pinhole viewers were made with shoe boxes, gift wrap tubes and cereal boxes. In addition to the viewing glasses, most people enjoyed trying out all the options: viewing with a colander, where each hole makes the shape of the eclipse, with pinhole viewers and even by interlacing their own fingers to make a grid that projected the shape of the eclipse. Some participants also brought their own viewers. A large pinhole viewer made from a shipping box and a piece of pegboard produced fascinating images.

Yet as fun as these viewing methods were, most agreed that being able to look directly at the eclipse through the eclipse glasses was awe-inspiring. Viewers happily shared glasses, and small groups of people formed all over the ball field as people took turns with the glasses and the many indirect viewing devices.

“Of all the excitement and laughter, the joy and awe of the day, my absolute favorite recollection of the event was the feeling of warmth, sharing and delight; the enveloping sense of community that I felt from everyone there. I will never forget it,” said Library Director Myra Emmons.

– Submitted by the Brookline Public Library

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