A favorite phrase among politicians of late is “shared services”. Public libraries have a long standing tradition of just that and nowhere was it more evident than during the August 21, Great American Eclipse.
While many libraries across the nation received official eclipse glasses, the Margaret Reaney Library was not among them. In an email conversation with several of my colleagues throughout the Mohawk Valley and Southern Adirondack Library Systems, a generous offer to share came from the Middleburgh Library in Schoharie County. With a few strokes of the keyboard, the Reaney Library suddenly found itself in possession of one hundred and fifty pair.
I immediately posted our good fortune to Facebook and soon the phone began ringing, FB messages started arriving, and people were coming through the door to collect a pair. In no time at all one hundred and fifty pair were spoken for. The sharing, however, did not stop there.
One pair of glasses went to a family and were shared by eight children and four adults spanning four generations. Another person reported that she had taken hers when running errands and, after 5 stops, the glasses had been shared by twenty-two people. Two pair of glasses found themselves on either end of Main Street where they were shared by shop owners and passersby.
A couple of pairs were circulated among boaters and campers at the St. Johnsville Marina and Campsite. On Mount Hadley, a single pair was shared among a group of hikers and, at Glimmerglass State Park, two pair made the rounds of those on the beach.
A young man, coming out of Stewart’s, was invited to take a peek by residents at Midtown Estates. A patron shared her pair with thirty co-workers and a gentleman stopping in at Performance Therapy and Fitness watched his glasses repeatedly go out the door.
Our glasses also found their way to Oneida and Saratoga Counties. Standing on the quad at Mohawk Valley Community College a patron pulled out her official eclipse glasses and was soon asked where she had secured a pair. She proudly answered, “the St.Johnsville Library” and proceeded to share them with the group around her.
Like mushrooms in the rain, our eclipse experience here at Margaret Reaney Library just kept growing and growing and growing. It was positively wonderful and a whole bunch of fun. We are eagerly looking forward to the spring of 2024.