To the Editor:

Who knew, when the Ridgefield Library received an email back in back in April to see if we were interested in participating in the “All-American Eclipse Program for Libraries,” that we would have had such an amazing turnout? The Ridgefield Police estimated a crowd of 2,000 in the park! Thank you to Chief Roche and his officers from the Ridgefield Police Department for all their assistance during the eclipse viewing and for their service to our town every day.

Thanks also to our partners at the Parks & Recreation Department who co-sponsored the event. Ballard Park was the perfect venue. Thanks to our tremendous volunteers from Boy Scout Troop 76, the Nutmeg and Ridgefield chapters of the National Charity League, and Girl Scout Troop 50465. You all did a wonderful job setting up the solar system scavenger hunt, handing out the glasses and pinhole viewers. Thanks to The Discovery Center for being a partner for this event and to Cliff Wattley of The Discovery Center for holding an informative pre-eclipse session at the Library and for bringing the awesome big telescope to the park. Thanks also to The Discovery Center for bringing the 300 pinhole viewers. Between the 500 eclipse glasses we started with and the pinhole viewers we were able to get something in the hands of most of the families & groups in that very long line. Thanks to DJ Sean Big Daddy for spinning the sun-, moon- & eclipse-themed tunes and for helping to make sure everyone was viewing safe! Thanks to all the Library Staff who helped make the event possible.

Finally, thanks to all the folks in town from youngest to oldest who turned out to the park to share this phenomenon together, thanks for your patience and enthusiasm. Our goal in participating in the program was not to be just a source for free eclipse glasses, but to be a catalyst for community sharing and learning. It was great to see that happen.

Next solar eclipse in our area … 2024!

Brenda McKinley

Library Director, Ridgefield Library