Greg Reeves demonstrates the new telescopes that the library has available for checkout

Greg Reeves, a librarian for the Daniel Boone Regional Library District, demonstrates the new telescopes available for checkout. The library began checking telescopes out to patrons in early June to coincide with the 50th Anniversary of the moon landing. So far, telescopes have been checked out 22 times. The library has 10 telescopes that cost $200 apiece and can be checked out for a week's time. They are available to people 18 and older. The telescopes are Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflectors.

In a move scheduled to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing, the Daniel Boone Regional Library District started allowing adults to check out telescopes last month.

As of last week, the 10 new telescopes had been checked out 22 times, according to librarian Greg Reeves. 

The telescopes, which cost $200 each, were chosen for their affordability and usability.

"We wanted one that was relatively low-cost but also good enough to use to do some quality stargazing," Reeves said.

Reeves said that if the telescopes become more popular, they will probably buy more.

"We try to have one item for every three holds," Reeves said. "So if there were 33 holds, we'd probably buy one more telescope." 

Greg Reeves demonstrates the 6mm and 17mm lenses that the Orion Star Blast telescope

Greg Reeves demonstrates the 6mm and 17mm lenses that the Orion Star Blast telescope uses at Columbia Public Library on Friday, July 12, 2019. The new telescopes have been on the library's budget since 2018 but were bought this year, timed with the 50th anniversary of the moon landing.

The telescopes can be checked out for just a week so that more people can have the opportunity to use them.

"They have got instructions in there, and they also have a little star chart in there, and then you can kind of orient to see what the night sky should look like," Reeves said.

He said the library limited the checkouts to those 18 and older because it wants an adult to be present to work with kids using them.

Mitzi St. John, public relations manager for the library, said the library has considered buying telescopes for several years.

"We timed the introduction to coincide with the 50th anniversary of the lunar landing, this year's Summer Reading theme of 'A Universe of Stories' and during our spring-fall program called 'Party With the Stars,'" St. John said in an email.

St. John said the telescopes have been distributed at each of the library's locations in Ashland, Columbia, Fulton and Holts Summit, as well as its mobile library.

Reeves said the program has been a hit so far.

"All in all, it's going really well, people seem to really like it, and it gives people a chance to try one out to see if some people are interested in getting one for themselves," Reeves said. 

Funding for the telescopes came from the library's general materials budget. 

Supervising editor is Tom Coulter.

  • Summer 2019 General Assignment Reporter. Spring 2019 Staff Photographer. I'm a graduate student on the photojournalism track. You can reach me at jeffreyzide@mail.missouri.edu or in the newsroom at 882-5700.

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