Westminster Reference Library is launching 'Reach for the Skies', a new project to lend telescopes to the public.
Any full member of Westminster's libraries who is over 18 can borrow a telescope for up to 7 days, free of charge, in a similar way to borrowing a book.
If you are over 18 and have a Westminster library card with no outstanding fines or charges, you can borrow a telescope.
The steps to borrowing a telescope are:
Staff will show you how to safely assemble the telescope and ask you to watch a short 5 minute video on how to use it.
You can borrow a telescope for 1 week only. The overdue fine for the telescope is £5 per day. There will be replacement costs of £300 if the telescope is lost or damaged beyond repair. If the telescope is damaged, you will be charged a fee based on the cost of repairs.
You are responsible for all items included with telescope. If any of these items is damaged or lost, you will pay a replacement fee.
You agree to read the Quick Start Guide provided with the telescope.
You agree to never look at the sun through the telescope or its finder scope, even for an instant, as permanent eye damage could result. Do not point the telescope at the sun, as parts will melt.
This project aims to provide a gateway to knowledge and inspiration. We want to give people the opportunity to borrow telescopes and explore the night skies for themselves.
The idea for lending telescopes was pioneered in the United States in 2008 by an amateur astronomer, Marc Stowbridge, from the New Hampshire Astronomical Society. It has proved a great success, spreading to over 100 libraries across the USA and beyond.
Westminster Reference Library has a particular historical significance in the field of astronomy as it was built on the site of Sir Isaac Newton's former home, where he lived from 1710 to 1727.
The library holds regular astronomy talks, events and workshops. Upcoming events are listed on the Westminster Reference Library events page
You can also find out about these events at the library and in the local area by joining our mailing list. Your contact details will not be shared with anyone else.