Sky is the limit with Library’s new telescope

Pam Dudding-Burch Contributing writer

President Dan Chrisman and member Rand Bowden of the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society (RVAS) present the Craig County Library with a LiTel #13.

One Wednesday, January 18, President Dan Chrisman and Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society (RVAS) member Rand Bowden presented the Craig County Library with a LiTel #13 Telescope.

Martha Dillard, the Secretary of the Board of Trustees for the CC Library, contacted past president Frank Baratta after she read a spring editorial inquiring about a four-year-old library telescope. Weeks of conversation with Carla Ritzler-Old, the Library Director, brought the gift to the doorstep of the library.

Chrisman and Bowden provided training to Library Assistant Director Letha Persinger in addition to the Board of Trustees: President- Linda Calderon, Vice President Marge Lewter and Secretary Martha Dillard. “We are happy to have this telescope in our Library!” Caldero n shared. Chrismas added, “The staff was very enthusiastic about receiving the telescope and even showed it to a patron passing by.”

“The purposes of the Roanoke Valley Astronomical Society are scientific and educational and are directed toward the advancement of the understanding and appreciation of astronomy and related sciences among the society members and the public at large,” Lewter explained. “To this end, the Craig County Public Library has been the eleventh library to receive such a donation.”

The best benefit to Craig County Library receiving a telescope, is now local citizens get the opportunity to check it out, just like a book or DVD,” one couple with a little girl said.

Other neighboring counties who have received telescopes have discovered that it is an item that people truly enjoy. The adjoining picnic area the library has will ‘fill the bill’ on having a spot to demonstrate the telescope.

“South County Library has loaned their scope out over 200 times,” Lewter said. “This is significant because when a book is loaned out it usually is read by one person and returned, but a New Hampshire study has shown that on average when a telescope is loaned out six people will have used it,” Chrisman said.

Shortly, the library will be receiving the manuals and writing instructions for the telescope and then will be ready for patrons to use. “The telescope will be available for groups to check out once a representative receives instruction on its care and use,” Lewter said.

In anticipation, CC Library is planning to have a Night Sky program in June more than likely. “This is where interested folks can get together, bring telescopes if they have them and view specific night sky events,” Lewter said. “Stay tuned to the library corner for further details!”

Additional activities and upcoming events at the Library include:

* Books and Baseball – The Library has a summer program where each child who checks out a book will receive an entry into a monthly drawing for free tickets to a Salem Red Sox baseball game and their own baseball! Everyone is encouraged to enter each month!

* Saturday, May 6, there will be a huge Book Sale in the Book Barn.

* Now until Monday, May 15 (deadline) is the Photography Contest. The theme this year is “Spring in Craig County”. You may email your photos to HYPERLINK “”

* Thursday, May 18, will be the annual friends meeting at the Old Brick Hotel, where Dr. Diana Christopholus will be the guest speaker. She is a lover of the outdoors, from gardening to rafting thousands of miles on American rivers. Besides teaching history, she owned an international management consulting business, and was a senior executive at the American Heart Association. Since then, she has co-founded the Roanoke Valley Cool Cities Coalition with almost 300 affiliates. She has also completed the Appalachian Trail (in stages) and is the Vice President of the Appalachian Trail Club.

* Monday, May 29, there will be a big Bake Sale at 10 a.m. on the porch of the Old Brick Hotel.

The Library is working diligently in fixing the floors where a plumbing problem caused water damage. This must be repaired before they can reopen to the public, but hopes are that it will be soon. “We look forward to seeing everyone again soon,” Calderon shared.

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