Cornerstones offers two inviting ways for library patrons to view the night sky

If COVID taught us anything at all, it was that people are clamoring to get outside. And they are finding all sorts of way to do it. Even at night.

Over the last 12 months, public interest in telescopes, astronomy, and the night sky has surged beyond recognition. According to a recent article in Sky & Telescope Magazine, telescope manufacturers are reporting an unprecedented surge in sales, with some manufacturers seeing 60 to 400 percent increases over last year.

According to Sarah Post, Program and Library Support Manager at Cornerstones of Science, sales of library telescopes picked up late last fall during COVID and have remained strong right through the spring. “We now have over 500 telescopes in 32 states across America, and interest continues to build,” says Post, noting that a new online map shows the wide distribution of Cornerstones telescopes across the country and offers an easy way to purchase a telescope online.

Since not every family has the financial resources or the ability to buy their own telescope, the ultimate goal of the Cornerstones Library Telescope Program is to allow library patrons to check out a telescope, just as they would a book, and to take that telescope home and explore the wonders of the night sky. Not only that, but there are also family-friendly Night Sky Binocular Backpack Kits that can offer library patrons hours of night sky enjoyment.

Night Sky Binocular Backpack with books

Night Sky Binocular Packpack with additional books

The Night Sky Backpack Kits Now Available

The Night Sky Binocular Backpack Kits are an easy and affordable STEM item for libraries to circulate, and are designed to keep patrons interested in space science for years to come. The kits, developed by Cornerstones, come in a handy bright-orange backpack and they are one in a collection of STEM items available on the Cornerstones website.

Included in The Night Sky Backpack Kit:

  • a pair of 7×50 Celestron binoculars
  • a constellation finder
  • a switchable white- and red-light headlamp
  • Two books: Audubon Pocket Constellation Guide and The Secret Galaxy by Fran Hodgkins
  • Short quick start guides on how to use the items in the backpack
  • Everything fits nicely into a bright orange backpack.

Bottom Line

Your library can be a great resource for the surging demand in resources for telescopes and night sky viewing. If your library is looking for a few great STEM related items to excite your library patrons, visit the cornerstones website or contact Sarah Post by emailing: sarah.post@cornerstonesofscience.org