Eclipse viewing at Darien Library draws a crowd
DARIEN — The staff at the Darien Library learned an important lesson for the next solar eclipse in 2024: Get more glasses.
By 1 p.m. Monday, a line of visitors snaked around the building, eager to be one of the first 30 people to get a pair of free eclipse-viewing glasses from the library.
“We were overwhelmed by the response from the community,” said Pat Tone, head of the welcome desk at the library who also helped plan the eclipse viewing. “We’ve been fielding a lot of inquiries over the past five days.”
In addition to the 30 pairs of glasses being given away, the library also had 20 pairs to lend out in 15-minute intervals. The library also gave out information sheets on the eclipse, courtesy of the Connecticut Library Association.
Although Darien did not lie in the path of totality, viewers did witness a partial eclipse and many of the glasses were passed around the crowd of dozens as the eclipse hit its peak — about 70 percent — around 2:45 p.m.
Other residents showed up with homemade viewing devices.
Amina Durbem, a Darien au pair, brought the 6-year-old children she looks after to the event with viewing devices they made themselves out of cereal boxes and tin foil.
“We watched a video and cut out the boxes and put on the foil,” she said. The trio was hoping to get a pair of glasses for better viewing.
Annie Odell and Vivienne Le, both Darien 18-year-olds, also braved the massive line in hopes of getting glasses to get a peek at the eclipse.
“Everyone seems excited,” Le said.
“It’s a really big event,” Odell added.
Those without means to view the eclipse watched a live stream from NASA, broadcast in the library’s viewing room. According to NASA, the stream of the eclipse as it crept across the country was the biggest event ever on NASA.org.
“Base on the number of inquiries, we anticipated this outcome,” Tone said. “We have a lot of interest and good will.”
Even though the library had expected a large crowd, the abundance of viewers, both young and old, was so extreme that the library parking lot quickly ran out of room and cars spilled over into the nearby police lot.