Readers, it’s time to take a trip to the stars this spring! Space has always captivated us. From the first moon landing to the Mars Rover, we have been left awestruck by the incredible expanse of stars, planets, and galaxies so immense and distant they almost exceed comprehension.
Lately, the Library has had astronomy on the brain given this year’s pick for Long Island Reads, a yearly program during which Nassau and Suffolk come together to read the same book, often a story that directly relates to Long Island. Long Island Reads culminates in a special, free event that includes a talk from the author. This year’s selection, Spaceman is the true story of Long Island’s own Mike Massimino, who grew up in Nassau County and went on to become an astronaut. Although Long Island Reads is officially over this year, you can still read or listen to Spaceman anytime (and you should, because I’ve heard it’s a great book!).
In keeping with the theme of space exploration, we have some exciting space-related programs and events planned for the upcoming weeks. If you’re interested in learning about the wonders of the universe, join us on Monday, April 23rd from 7:00-8:30 for Astronomy for Everyone: Size and Scale of the Universe. Kevin Manning, an astronomer and former consultant for NASA, will give a multimedia presentation, followed by an opportunity to do some outdoor stargazing with a telescope–assuming Mother Nature cooperates. For a fun look at space through the lens of pop culture, on Tuesday April 24th from 6:30-8:00, Clive Young will discuss the history of Star Trek, one of the most popular and enduring television series, having spawned multiple movies and even a brand new iteration (Star Trek: Discovery, available online through CBS All Access). Following the program, you can enjoy our new virtual reality system while trying out the game “ADRIFT,” a survival/adventure game that will have you “floating” through a damaged space station, offering plenty of incredible views of Earth below. Lastly, for a different approach, Astrologer Betty Steele will present Astrology: Natal/Birth Chart Reading on Monday, April 30th from 7:00-8:30. Registration is required for all programs, so make sure you contact the Reference Department by phone (516-731-5728) or in person as soon as possible to secure your spot. In particular, register ASAP for Astrology: Natal/Birth Chart Reading, because those who sign up before April 26th and give their date of birth will receive a free natal/birth chart the evening of the program.
Thanks to the amazing resources of print and multimedia, those of us held back by gravity can still gain incredible knowledge of and experiences with space. There are abundant books for all ages available through the library system. Using your Levittown Public Library card, you can access NASA Space Place, a special database for children that provides a great introduction to all things space.
Given how visually stunning space truly is, film is able to capture the experience of space exploration to amazing effect, especially as it has progressed technically over the past decade. Some of my favorite space-related films include Apollo 13, which I can never turn off once I catch it on television, The Martian, and Gravity. Of course, we can’t forget some classics like 2001: A Space Odyssey and the Star Wars series.
Anyone with even the remotest interest in space–or if you just want to see some beautiful images–should check out NASA’s Instagram account; the photos and videos will blow your mind!
No post about space would be complete without some words from the late, incomparable Stephen Hawking, who once said, “Look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”
Until next time…