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Best of Friends Friends of the Durham Library Newsletter Fall 2013 rham Library ds of the Du n e ri F e th y Presented b Durham County Library Becomes First Library in Space T here’s Outreach, and then there’s outreach. In early 2013 North Regional children’s librarian and resident mad scientist, Casey Nees, proposed a novel idea to spur interest in science for the young and the young-at-heart: DCL should become the first library in space. Though it sounded farfetched, the concept had been tried many times before with successful results – just not by a library. DCL would be the first. The details of the plan were as follows: DCL would reach near space by building a capsule, filling it with library paraphernalia and attaching it to a weather balloon filled with helium. Once released, the balloon and its payload would rise to an altitude of about 70,000 feet – high enough to see space above and the horizon of the Earth below – then the balloon would burst, and the capsule would drift back to Earth by parachute, landing within a few hundred miles of the launch site. Video and still cameras attached to the capsule would capture the entire journey. The whole project could be executed for a few thousand dollars, but those funds were not in the budget for the upcoming fiscal year. Once again, the Friends came to the rescue. In the spring, Casey submitted a proposal asking the Friends to sponsor the library’s quest to reach space, and after the president and vice president of the organization saw a sample launch video, the FLIS proposal was the first to be approved. The project was a go! We determined that an idea this big would be perfect to pair with the library’s biggest program of the year: Summer Reading. With the theme “Dig Into…” First Library In Space would encourage children, teens and adults to “Dig Into Space.” Continued on page 2

Best of Friends - Fall 2013

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