Professional and amateur astronomers use telescopes to view, appreciate, and gain a better understanding of the universe. The Kalamazoo Astronomical Society believes this joy should be shared with as many people as possible. This program will give us the avenue to reach many who have never had the opportunity to look through a good telescope. Our goal is to stimulate public interest in astronomy, and help everyone gain a better understanding of their place in the cosmos.
The Library Telescope Program utilizes the services of an astronomy club and a local library, allowing patrons of the library the opportunity to check out a telescope as they would check out a book. This program was originally started by the New Hampshire Astronomical Society (NHAS) in 2008. The January 2011 Sky & Telescope magazine article, featuring the NHAS and the program, provided the spark that fueled the KAS bringing the opportunity to Michigan.
The New Hampshire club graciously made all the material available on the Internet for any club to use and copy. We have attached our version of the program, and encourage you to copy, use, and modify the information to suit your club’s taste. We also encourage you to visit NHAS website for the original version of the program.
Our journey began on May 22, 2012 through a donation of an Orion Starblast 4.5 Astro Reflector to the Portage District Library. A second telescope followed in July to the Oshtemo branch of the Kalamazoo Public Library. We hope there are many more to follow.
The telescope comes complete with everything needed for a night of successful viewing, even if you’ve never used a telescope. This telescope was chosen for several reasons including ease of use, simplicity, a large primary mirror, and no wobbly tripod legs. You can expect to see the rings of Saturn, Jupiter and its moons, some galaxies, nebula and star clusters, and some breathtaking views of the Moon.
We hope you get as much enjoyment out of viewing with the telescope as we do, and we’d appreciate your comments, concerns, and any questions you might have. We’d especially like to hear from those who have used the telescope!
Please send your feedback titled “Library Telescope Program” to: