The LAS is pleased to partner with the Louisville Free Public Library (LFPL) to introduce a telescope lending program for the Louisville area. As of November 3, 2018, the Southwest Branch of the LFPL has been provided with three Orion Starblast Newtonian tabletop reflectors. These will allow patrons to see the planets and some of the brighter deep sky objects such as the Orion Nebula and the Andromeda Galaxy.
Alterations to the telescopes have been made to make them more user friendly and easier to maintain. Also, the addition of a zoom lens obviates the need to change eyepieces and allows magnification levels from 19x - 56x to be obtained by the simple twist of a collar.
Patrons must be 18 years of age and have a valid LFPL card in order to checkout a telescope. An instruction manual, constellation book and head lamp will be provided.
LAS members will act as mentors at the library providing routine maintenance for the telescopes and as astronomical resources to staff and patrons.
Similar programs have been operational in other parts of the country with great success. The library scope program was the idea of the New Hampshire Astronomical Society and has been active since 2008. Their goal was to foster scientific literacy, to stimulate interest in Astronomy and to enable people who have never looked through a telescope to experience the excitement that comes from discovery. They started with two scopes and have expanded to over 70.
It is the goal of the LAS to grow the program by serving more libraries in Kentucky as well as Southern Indiana.