The Solar Eclipse Experience

16 Aug

Solar_eclipse_1999_4_NRAt this point (especially if you work in a library), if you haven’t heard about the solar eclipse then I want to be you! We applied for the NASA grant and didn’t get it, so my children’s and teen programming librarians decided that we would offer a program anyway and buy some glasses for the program participants. We went back and forth on how many pairs of glasses to order, how popular we thought the program would be, who we could have come in to actually do the program, etc. We were finally able to get one of our middle school teachers to put a program together for us (right before school started and she was kind enough to volunteer her time). We decided to only order enough glasses for the program participants and opened the program up to 40 kids. Well, needless to say, the program is completely filled with an additional 25 kids on our waiting list.

I come into the library yesterday morning, ready to open my office and I seen an email pinned to my door, it’s from Amazon. They’re refunding us our money for the glasses because they cannot verify with the manufacturer that our glasses are properly certified. I have 40 kids planning on coming to a program in less than 36 hours who are expecting glasses. It was not an enjoyable way to start my day.

After hours of searching online, calling local retailers and doing a ton of research, we made our decision. We’d proceed with the program, email the participants ahead of time explaining the situation, provide the kids with instructions and materials to create a pinhole solar eclipse viewer and hope for the best. So far, I haven’t heard any major complaints, but as the director I made the tough call to choose not to hand out our glasses. My librarians did the research and chose the glasses that appeared to be certified (and it says it right there, printed on the glasses), but I don’t want any eye injuries as a result of handing out faulty solar eclipse glasses, so that’s where we stand. Meanwhile, we’re continuing to field calls from community members asking if we have glasses to give away and trying to get into the solar eclipse program that has been full for a month.

I can’t wait for the eclipse to be over.

 

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