NASA, Erving library team up for eclipse-viewing

  • Lillian May, 4, of Erving watches Monday's eclipse at the Public Library, Aug. 21, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Dan Jagla, right, and 3 year-old son Abraham Jagla, left, watch Monday’s eclipse at the Erving Public Library. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Eclipse watchers at Erving Public Library Monday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

  • Mason Lengieza, 3, watches the eclipse from the Erving Public Library Monday, Aug. 21, 2017. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo—

  • Marge Housen watches the eclipse at Erving Public Library Monday. Recorder Staff/Andy Castillo

Recorder Staff
Tuesday, August 22, 2017

ERVING — Young and old alike wearing yellow solar radiation glasses stared into Monday afternoon’s bright sky, watching as the moon passed in front of the sun.

“It’s wild. And really neat to see everyone come out. I got the day off from work to spend the day with these guys,” said James Lengieza of Charlemont, at Erving Public Library’s eclipse viewing party. On a blanket, Lengiaza’s wife, Heather Lengieza, sat with their two chidren, Mason, 3, and Katy, 10.

The eclipse started at 1:30 p.m. and finished at 4 p.m. About 60 people gathered on the lawn, coming from just down the road and further away.

Leading up to the phenomenon, Erving’s library gave out 1,000 free eclipse-viewing glasses, which were donated to libraries nationwide by a partnership of Google and NASA, and other organizations. Another 125 glasses were distributed at the viewing party.

“We’re really thankful to NASA for publicizing this to all libraries in the country. We rarely get an opportunity to be a site of cooperation like this,” said Library Director Barbara Friedman. “They realize libraries are the way to reach all ages.”

Friedman noted the viewing party is part of the library’s broader focus on making science programs available to the public. Over the past several years, a coalition of five regional libraries put on 100 science programs using state grant money.

The science aspect was stressed by others, too. Jami Ricard, an eighth-grade math teacher at Pioneer Valley Regional School, who stopped on her way home to Holyoke, highlighted the importance of “real-world science” as a teaching tool.

By 2 p.m., the library had run out of solar glasses. Improvising, Harvard resident Keith Turner — a former National Geographic cameraman — made a camera obscura from a shoe box, observing the sun through a pinhole.

“The library had the information, and I had the box,” Turner said.

Monday’s eclipse came at a special time for some. Greenfield resident Joy Whitbeck, there with son, Dylan, celebrated a birthday. And the public library held its annual end-of-summer party on the same day. Organizers combined the two events.

Around 2 p.m., illustrator Roberta Paul read from her book, “Henry and Lola: A Puppy Love Story,” written by Keith Cohen. Later, a water balloon fight and another book reading was held.

Reach Andy Castillo

at: acastillo@recorder.com

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