Sun, Jan

Library sheds light on solar eclipse & seeds


From the earth to the stars — it’s not the Cottonwood Public Library’s motto, but based on recent community offerings it might as well be.

This month, the library hosts two events that show just how far libraries have moved away from only offering books and internet access: The return of the seed library and a solar viewing opportunity in celebration of the upcoming total solar eclipse.

“We’re all about not only creating community but spreading knowledge,” library assistant II Kyle Smith said. “It doesn’t have to be just reading a book by yourself. We’re bringing in people to educate the community.”

The seed library, a partnership between the library and the Verde Thumbs Gardening Club, is a lending program that offers open-pollinated seeds to the Verde Valley’s gardeners, as well as an opportunity for hobbyists to share information.

“We get quite a few people for it,” Smith said.

The program, which began last year for the 2016 fall growing season and returned this year for the spring 2017 growing season, makes it possible for gardens to grow plants from the checked-out seeds, save a portion of the seeds generated and return them to the Seed Library for the next growing season.

“Eventually, these seeds become adapted to our soil and climate and are more productive,” Smith said.

The Seed Library will reopen Saturday, Aug. 19, from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in the parking lot lobby. Volunteers will be on hand to answer questions and assist with seed selection.

The program continues every other Saturday through Oct. 14.

Moving beyond our atmosphere — if you get done with this story in time, you may be able to get a good look at the sun: Beginning at noon, Wednesday, Aug. 9, in Meeting Room B, the library welcomes J.D. Maddy of the Astronomers of Verde Valley for a presentation all about the sun, followed by a solar viewing opportunity.

It marks the second time Maddy has visited the library. In July, approximately 20 people attended a similar event.

“It seems to be a pretty big draw,” Smith said. “Those attending will have a chance to see the sun safely with special telescopes designed to view the sun in different wavelengths of light. Come out and learn about the sun and how to view it safely.”

The event is free and open to the public. Solar viewing glasses will be distributed to all who attend. This programming is intended to coincide, in part, with the first solar eclipse to be seen over North America since 1979, on Monday, Aug. 21. 

Eclipse totality will not be seen from Arizona, but the moon will cover up approximately 68 percent of the sun. Total solar eclipses are rare anywhere on Earth, as totality results only along the narrow path traced by the moon’s shadow over the Earth’s surface.

Cottonwood Public Library is at 100 S Sixth St. For more information, call 634-7559 or visit ctwpl.info.

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