SPOTSWOOD, NJ - It was a total eclipse at the Spotswood Public Library for the history Great American Eclipse that captured the nation's attention on Monday, August 21. The last time a total solar eclipse passed through the United States was June 8, 1918. It won't happen again until April 8, 2024. So, the excitement was understandably high in the borough as was the need for those special-purpose solar filters better known as eclipse glasses.
"We've had over a hundred phone calls this morning asking just for glasses," Spotswood Public Library Director C.L. Quillen said. "If I'd have known I would have gotten ten times what I got."
Quillen ordered the glasses way back at the start of the summer as the library planned their End-of-Summer Blast Off to coincide with the much-anticipated solar eclipse. The event required pre-registration of all parties, including the parents and caregivers of the children attending the solar party. As the solar frenzy reached a fever pitch in the days leading up to the historic eclipse, the annual program signaling the conclusion of summer reading fun at the library was full to capacity. Between the participants, staff and volunteers, the library was bustling with over a hundred people eager to see the sun's prominent display.
The Friends of the Spotswood Public Library purchased the eclipse glasses while the Spotswood ShopRite supplied water bottle and BCB Community Bank served up some refreshing ice cream. Girl Scouts were on hand to volunteer their services to help run the games and assist with crafts along with the library staff and the Friends.
Inside the library kids made crafts and played games that all had a solar theme such as fishing for planets, moon walking and creating a balloon alien. There were even a couple of visitors from another planet that were the cutest extraterrestrials ever. Finn, a golden retriever puppy, and Fern, a black labrador puppy, donned costumes for the fun in the sun. The pair were a big hit as kids and grownups stopped by to pet these good-natured pups that are in training to become service dogs.
As each event was completed, a stamp was filled in on the child's passport. Once the entire galaxy was visited, participants could collect their out-of-this-world prize at the circulation desk that consisted of a solar system bookmark, pencil, pad and sticker, all tied up in a colorful gift bag.
Outside folks milled around taking selfies and watched the solar eclipse as it unfolded between two and four p.m. An officer from the Spotswood Police Department was present to assist with crowd control if need be. However, the solar-inspired festivities went off without a hitch as participants enjoyed the memorable occasion, sharing it with neighbors, friends and family.
Participants left with their solar filters as a keepsake to save or wear them at night. Just don't use them for the next North American solar eclipse in April of 2014. They're only good for three years.