Our Library, like many public libraries along the eclipse path, has "sold out" of free glasses. Most libraries distributed free protective glasses to those attending our programs about the eclipse. BCL staff has turned away hundreds, perhaps several thousands, of people over the past weeks - thousands of people who may not have visited any of our facilities or used any of our services. And that contact is a good thing. At least they could find our buildings and they thought that we could help - and if we had any glasses left we would be giving them away. We've even had direct contact from folks who never contact us through personal numbers and addresses to see if Library staff may have a hidden stash of solar eclipse glasses hoarded for our friends, neighbors, or acquaintances. The answer is "No, we do not." Library staff have no glasses left to give to anyone nor do we have any to sell on the black market. As our web page states: "Due to overwhelming demand, the Beaufort County Library system no longer has any eclipse glasses remaining for distribution."
We do not have glasses but we do, however, have plenty of free information to offer about the upcoming eclipse. We have a web page devoted to the topic with access to Rob Hendrick's slideshow from an eclipse program he did at Beaufort Branch in July, an In Biblio Novitas podcast with Library staff about eclipse programs and materials, and suggested resources from the American Astronomical Society. The South Carolina State Library prepared a nifty LibGuide with lots of links to reliable sources on the topic.
All the local newspapers are carrying information, too: Island News; Island Packet. I particularly like Margaret Evans's Rants and Raves column reflecting on our collective "Total Eclipse of the Heart" in the Lowcountry Weekly, even if she does delve over into astrology about the destined role of the eclipse baby who happens to be President at this portentous moment in United States history. Her closing sentence is masterful.
Interestingly, the path of the August 21, 2017 total solar eclipse has been crossed by the tracks of 15 previous eclipses over the continental United States between 1503 and 1970 according to NASA. Some of the tracks crossed into South Carolina territory: October 23, 1623; June 24, 1778; and May 28, 1900.
As all our readers know, the Beaufort District Collection concentrates on Beaufort's past - and 47 years ago, Beaufort experienced a total solar eclipse on March 7, 1970. The March 7 total solar eclipse in South Carolina was the last total solar eclipse to be viewed in the continental United States until now. In 1970 the only newspapers around were the weekly Beaufort Gazette and the bi-weekly Sea Islander. (The Island Packet began publication in July 1970).
|Beaufort Gazette, 12 March 1970, p. 8.|
As you can surmise from the image above, photographs published in newspapers that were later microfilmed for preservation purposes are usually hard to reproduce. Ned Brown captured a completely dark downtown Beaufort at 1:30 in the afternoon. (Back in 1970, the Beaufort Gazette was still a weekly newspaper publishing on Thursday afternoons.)
Be safe enjoying the eclipse.
Heads up: The Library will be closed on Labor Day, Mon., Sept. 4th.