Solar eclipse resources and activities for libraries

STAR Net and WebJunction /

It’s eclipse time again! Libraries all over are gearing up to offer activities and resources for community members, and your library is probably no exception. But if you’re still looking for ideas, we’ve got you covered. From interactive workshops to hands-on activities, this article offers resources and ideas to help libraries inspire curiosity and foster learning about the solar system.

Fun facts about the total eclipse on Monday, April 8, 2024

  • Check out this interactive map  or NASA’s Eclipse Explorer to see how close your community is to the path of totality.
  • Totality will be visible first in Mexico, coming to Texas just after noon local time.
  • The eclipse then moves northeast through Oklahoma, Missouri, Ohio, New York, and Maine, to name just a few of the states, and into Canada.
  • In the Northeast, totality will be around 3:00 to 3:30 pm, so, in most of the U.S., students may be in school for the eclipse.
  • In Mexico and South Texas, the total eclipse will last over 4 minutes, which is good for a total eclipse.
  • But even if you aren't on the path of totality, everyone in North American will see a partial eclipse.
  • The path of totality, where the Sun is blocked out completely by the Moon getting exactly in front of it, is over 100 miles wide, and passes over more cities than the eclipse in 2017.
  • Plan ahead – 32 million people live along the path of totality, and many millions will try to get there on April 7th and 8th.
  • The next total eclipse to cross the continental US will not be until Aug. 12, 2045, so don’t miss this one!

Solar-viewing glasses and eye safety

It’s probably the most commonly asked question in libraries lately: “Where can I find some eclipse glasses?” While some of the programs offering free eclipse glasses have run out, there are still plenty of places to find them. Some places to look include:

STAR Net resources

Explore new ways to bring science, technology, and fun into your programs and services with the STAR Library Network (STAR Net), a hands-on learning network for libraries and their communities across the country. Whether you are new to STEM or are building on past experiences, STAR Net offers resources and collaborations to take lifelong STEM learning to new levels in your library:

Other resources

Inspiration from other libraries

Library program flyer with an illustrated astronaut and various planets, reading: ‘Staycation in space, with NASA Solar System Ambassador Bridget Kimsy,’ along with program details
Richmond Free Library Staycation in space program
flyer, via Facebook
  • East Brunswick Public Library (New Jersey) prepped for the upcoming eclipse during their recent makers day event, where participants were invited to create their own homemade pinhole camera to view the eclipse.

  • Juneau Public Library (Wisconsin) welcomed NASA Ambassador Michael Prator for a Solar eclipse star party. Participants had the chance to view a solar telescope, enjoy craft activities, and of course, take home their own pair of eclipse glasses.

  • Most libraries are offering free eclipse glasses to their community members. Haverhill Public Library (Massachusetts) decided to get extra creative by promoting this free resource with a whimsical reel.

  • Ontario Public Library (New York) is hosting a pair of programs to help both kids and adults learn about the upcoming eclipse. NASA Solar System Ambassador Dr. Damian Allis will be at both the “Kids’ Guide to the 2024 solar eclipse” and the “2024 Solar eclipse guide for adults” events, and will astrological insights, plus a chance to try out a sky viewer.

  • Richmond Free Library (Vermont) is hosting a series of three programs to help community members get ready for the eclipse. “Where are we? Staycation in space!” gave kids and adults alike the chance to explore planets, asteroids, and more with NASA Solar System Ambassador Bridget Kimsey. “What’s out there? Traveling our universe” introduced attendees to the further reaches of space, including other galaxies, solar systems, and exoplanets. And the final program will be an eclipse kickoff, featuring presentations, activities, and of course, free eclipse glasses.

  • Toledo Lucas Public Library (Ohio) offered a series of programs, including a general eclipse education event, a solar eclipse workshop on wheels, and an eclipse photography program for teens (a team effort with Metroparks Toledo).