Most Buffalo and Erie County public libraries run out of free eclipse viewing glasses

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — It’s an event that has been talked about for months. It’s the total solar eclipse and its just 15 days away.

A total solar eclipse hasn’t been seen in the United States since February of 1979, but the next time you’ll be able to see one is just days away. Buffalo, New York is not under the direct path but parts of the event will be able to be seen anyways. To prepare for the event the Erie County Public Library System is offering special workshops.

Mary Jean Jakubowski shared with News 4 details of the event. She said, “Eclipsorama is the program that we’re setting aside for Saturday August 19th.”

Eclipsorama will be spread throughout libraries across all of Erie County. And the reason they’re able to do so is because of a large grant they received through the public library system. Jakubowski said, “We were one of 75 libraries throughout the US that are recipients of the Grant. This gives us access to some NASA scientists and a NASA representative here locally.”

With the money allotted they will have things like an eclipse viewing party on the 21st, a rocket ship making class, story times and speakers informing everyone about space exploration. One of the most important things they can provide are free eclipse viewing eye ware.

Jakubowski said, “It is very important to protect your eyes from the rays of the sun. I think everyone of us was told since we were a little kid, not to look directly into the sun. And it intensifies during an eclipse.”

So even though we are not going to be seeing the best conditions here in Western New York, we’ll have 7 to 8 minutes of viewing so it’s still crucial to stay safe. Part of that is staying informed with the latest knowledge.

Jakubowski shared, “NASA has recommended not to use glasses that are more than three years old, because they lose their potency so it’s very important to use new glasses.”

Most of the county’s public libraries have run out of the special glasses.

“We apologize for the inconvenience and are attempting to get more,” a representative of the Buffalo & Erie County Public Library said. “Please call your library prior to going for a pair.”

MORE | Find a library here.

For information on program times and other eclipse events, click here.

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