NHAS LogoNew Hampshire Astronomical Society
Illustration from The Star-Splitter, Century Magazine, 1923, J.J. Lankes
The best thing that we're put here for's to see;
The strongest thing that's given us to see with's
a telescope. Someone in every town
seems to me owes it to the town to keep one.
In Littleton it may as well be me.

- Robert Frost
from the collection New Hampshire, 1923
The NHAS's Library Telescope Program is the recipient of the Out-of-this-world Award
from Astronomy Magazine for outstanding public programming.

Click for more details.
NHAS Library Telescope Program

These words from Robert Frost's poem, "The Star-Splitter" so eloquently summarize the idea behind NHAS's Library Scope Program.

The New Hampshire Astronomical Society, and particularly its Educational Outreach Committee, started placing telescopes and educational materials in selected libraries in New Hampshire beginning in December 2008. Our goal: To help foster scientific literacy, stimulate an interest in astronomy, and provide people who have never looked through a telescope the chance to experience the excitement that comes from discovery.

From a humble beginning of two scopes placed in 2008 followed by ten in 2009 and a further four in the first half of 2010, the program has grown beyond our own expectations.


Theresa Caswell & Lauri Gaudet of the Gale Library, Newton, NH

Placing the telescopes in local public libraries instead of just schools, allows greater general access to the scope since they can be put into circulation just as a book.

Where applicable, a local Club member acts as a foster parent to the scope. He or she will periodically clean and adjust the telescope, and act as a local astronomical resource to the library patrons. Additionally, a library member or student from a local school could be engaged as an apprentice astronomer to provide needed care to the scope.


Langdon Public Library, Newington, NH

NHAS has selected the Orion StarBlast 4.5-inch Astronomical Telescope for the libraries, along with a zoom eye piece and supportive material. We have re-written the instruction manual and provide a laminated, spiral-bound 4 by 6 inch copy with each scope. The telescope is easy to use and is robust. There is nothing to assemble. It has a wooden base, not the usual spindly tripod legs. The telescope is of manageable size, but has a relatively large optical tube. This means that the Moon and deep sky objects will show far more detail than one could see with the common "beginners" telescopes. It also has a large field of view that allows the object to stay in the eyepiece longer. This is a quality instrument, reviewed by a number of astronomical publications and found quite worthy.

Funding for the scopes has come from a variety of sources: the NHAS general budget, some specific donations from members, the public through donations at Skywatches, and library patrons interested in giving something to their communities. While we have presented a few libraries with outright gifts, the majority of the libraries have opted to purchase their telescope with their own funds, accepting the club's guidance and support.

The Library Telescope Program continues to be very well received. Each participating library typically has a waiting list for their telescopes, and most have set up book displays with the telescope as a centerpiece.


Susan Gilbert & Dawn Thurlow of the Kensington Public Library, Kensington, NH

We at NHAS are very proud of the success of the program and are delighted to provide an opportunity to further share our love of the night sky in this unique way. Thank you for visiting and taking an interest in our work. Please feel free to copy this program and the materials about the project (attribution would be appreciated). Let us know about your thoughts regarding the LTP and if you start one of your own.


View LTP in a larger map
Participating Libraries
Gilman Library
Alton, NH
Amherst Town Library
Amherst, NH
Kimball Library
Atkinson, NH
Oscar Foss Memorial Library
Barnstead, NH
Barrington Public Library
Barrington, NH
Bartlett Public Library
Bartlett, NH
Bedford Public Library
Bedford, NH
Bethlehem Public Library
Bethlehem NH
Baker Free Library
Bow, NH
Brown Memorial Library
Bradford, NH
Mary E Bartlett Library
Brentwood, NH
Minot Sleeper Library
Bristol, NH
Brookline Public Library
Brookline, NH
Ossipee Public Library
Center Ossipee, NH
Samuel H. Wentworth Library
Center Sandwich, NH
Chester Public Library
Chester, NH
Fiske Free Library
Claremont, NH
Colebrook Public Library
Colebrook, NH
Concord Public Library
Concord, NH
Hopkinton Town Library
Contoocook, NH
Conway Public Library
Conway, NH
Dalton Public Library
Dalton NH
Philbrick-James Library
Deerfield, NH
Derry Public Library
Derry, NH
Dover Public Library
Dover, NH
Dunbarton Public Library
Dunbarton, NH
Durham Public Library
Durham, NH
East Kingston Public Library
East Kingston, NH
Effingham Public Library
Effingham, NH
Harvey-Mitchell Memorial Library
Epping, NH
Fitzwilliam Town Library
Fitzwilliam, NH
Bixbey Memorial Library
Francestown, NH
Fremont Public Library
Fremont, NH
Gilford Public Library
Gilford, NH
Goffstown Public Library
Goffstown, NH
Gorham Public Library
Gorham, NH
Stephenson Memorial Library
Greenfield, NH
Weeks Public Library
Greenland, NH
Hampstead Public Library
Hampstead, NH
Hampton Falls Free Library
Hampton Falls, NH
Lane Memorial Library
Hampton, NH
Howe Library
Hanover, NH
Fuller Public Library
Hillsboro, NH
Hollis Social Library
Hollis, NH
Hooksett Library
Hooksett, NH
Rodgers Memorial Library
Hudson, NH
Jackson Library
Jackson, NH
Jaffrey Library
Jaffrey, NH
Keene Public Library
Keene, NH
Louis T. Graves Public Library
Kennebunkport, ME
Kensington Public Library
Kensington, NH
Kingston Community Library
Kingston, NH
Lee Public Library
Lee, NH
Lincoln Public Library
Lincoln, NH
Aaron Cutler Memorial Library
Litchfield, NH
Littleton Public Library
Littleton, NH
J. A. Tarbell Library
Lyndeborough, NH
Madison Library
Madison, NH
Manchester City Library
Manchester, NH
Frost Free Library
Marlborough, NH
Meredith Public Library
Meredith, NH
Merrimack Public Library
Merrimack, NH
Wadleigh Memorial Library
Milford, NH
Daland Memorial Library
Mont Vernon, NH
Moultonborough Public Library
Moultonborough, NH
Nashua Public Library
Nashua, NH
Whipple Free Library
New Boston, NH
New Durham Public Library
New Durham, NH
Gordon-Nash Library
New Hampton, NH
Tracy Memorial Library
New London, NH
Paul Memorial Library
Newfields, NH
Langdon Public Library
Newington, NH
Richards Free Library
Newport, NH
Gale Library
Newton NH
North Hampton Public Library
North Hampton, NH
Hall Memorial Library
Northfield, NH
Blaisdell Memorial Library
Nottingham, NH
Pembroke Town Library
Pembroke, NH
Josiah Carpenter Library
Pittsfield, NH
Pease Public Library
Plymouth, NH
Portsmouth Public Library
Portsmouth, NH
Portsmouth Middle School
Portsmouth, NH
Randolph Public Library
Randolph, NH
Dudley-Tucker Library
Raymond, NH
Ingalls Memorial Library
Rindge, NH
Rye Public Library
Rye, NH
Salisbury Free Library
Salisbury, NH
Gafney Library
Sanbornville, NH
Seabrook Library
Seabrook, NH
Hill Library
Strafford NH
Wiggin Memorial Library
Stratham, NH
Cook Memorial Library
Tamworth, NH
Gay-Kimball Library
Troy, NH
Webster Free Public Library
Webster, NH
Webster Memorial Library
Wentworth, NH
Kilton Library
West Lebanon, NH
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