Back in June, Barbara Basile made plans for the eclipse. The executive director of the Milanof-Schock Library in Mount Joy ordered 60 pairs of safety glasses that were dark enough for the international standard of safe viewing of the sun and the library announced its eclipse viewing party.
At the time, that seemed like plenty of glasses. But in the week leading up to the eclipse on Monday, Aug. 21, the library was deluged with thousands of phone calls from people seeking glasses for eclipse viewing.
“We have no way to give out thousands of glasses,” Basile said during a brief interview on the lawn in front of the library, where hundreds of people had shown up for the viewing party.
Basile realized there wouldn’t be nearly enough glasses to go around and there was no way to order more, since manufacturers hadn’t anticipated such strong demand.
“We decided to have a day of sharing,” Basile said. “And the community has responded beautifully.”
Basile said she feared that people might take a long time using the glasses before passing them on to someone else, but that didn’t happen. Nearly everybody took a look through the glasses, then passed them on.
“People never finish astounding me with how fabulous they are,” Basile said.
The library also had a projection screen indoors where NASA footage of the eclipse was being shown, but few people were watching that. Most chose to be outside on the lawn, where there were children’s activities in addition to the viewing of the eclipse.
“Most of them are looking-down activities,” such as a bean bag toss, because of concerns that children might not follow safe viewing directions carefully, Basile said.