A look into the universe

Explore Space program to be introduced Aug. 16

ALGONA — Visitors to the Algona Public Libary will be able to take a deeper look into the universe through a new program to be offered there, according to Mara Strickler, director of the library.

The program, called Explore Space, opens Aug. 16.

“It covers topics such as a search for habitable worlds beyond our own solar system, bodies such as asteroids and comets, and the exploration of Mars since that has been a focus of NASA’s work in recent years,” Strickler said.

Solar storms and their impacts on earth is another topic to be examined, she said.

“It’s intended to be a really fun exhibit to help ignite questions for people of all ages to teach and learn about the universe, including how stars and planetary systems form and the role that gravity plays in our universe,” Strickler said.

The program was developed by the Space Science Institute’s National Cen­ter for Interactive Learning in partnership with the American Library Association. The Lunar and Planetary Institute and the After School Alliance also contributed to the project.

The project received grant funding from the American Library Association. It also received funding from the National Science Foundation. There is no direct cost to hosting the exhibit, Strickler said.

The Algona library was the only library in Iowa to be accepted for the exhibit, according to Strickler.

“It’s especially exciting for me because there was a competitive application process that was nationwide,” she said.

Rural and smaller libraries were encouraged to apply, she said.

“We were luckily one of the libraries accepted,” Stickler said. “It’s really a unique opportunity for the area.”

Strickler said although residents in Algona have better visibility of the stars than in more urban areas, the educational opportunities are ordinarily not the same.

“In researching the application for this exhibit, I was really struck by the fact that while we have access to a beautiful night sky in Algona and the surrounding area because we don’t experience light pollution the way that urban areas do, we don’t necessarily have the educational and cultural opportunities that are available in those urban areas,” she said. “So this to me, gives us an opportunity to have the educational and cultural experiences and to better appreciate our own natural surroundings.”

The program will be primarily held in the gallery at the library.

The room has a maximum capacity of 97 people.

Tactile exhibits, videos, and blocks for kids, will be features of the program.

The exhibits will be open to the public during regular operating hours.

Other special opportunities tied to the program will be offered elsewhere in Algona, according to Strickler.

“We are partnering with the Kossuth County Conservation board on viewing the night sky,” she said.

Part of the program will be held at the library and part will be at a nature center.

“We are partnering with quite a few community organizations to provide support for this exhibit,” she said.

The Explore Space program will be available through October.

For more information or to find a schedule of events for the Explore Space program, find the Algona Public Library on Facebook or call the library at 515-295-5476.