ROCKINGHAM – If you weren’t at Leath Memorial Library Monday, then you were in the minority. As the day dawned, people began filing in line outside the library doors in preparation for a solar eclipse celebration.
Librarian Peggy Wilkes stated that people were excitedly lining up before 8 a.m. Inside the library, the phone rang incessantly, Wilkes politely answering callers’ questions about the solar eclipse glasses that were being given out free to the first 1,000 people in line.
Donna Hudson, another library employee, lent a helping hand at the front desk. Librarian Deborah Knight and supervisor Shannon Hearne were stationed at the door, distributing the NASA-approved glasses. Jesse Gibson, director of Sandhills Regional Library system was also assisting. Knight wrote the grant that resulted in NASA supporting the eclipse program.
As Richmond County celebrated the solar eclipse Monday, many got to experience the once-in-a-lifetime event because of the Leath Memorial Library. With the area nestled in 98 percentile of the eclipse’s path of totality, a hazy aura dimmed Richmond County around 2:45 p.m.
Those that weren’t in line waiting to receive glasses, were watching a Star Wars movie inside the library, playing in the bouncy house, getting their face painted, and enjoyed food and drinks from various on-sight vendors. Members of Rockingham Police Department were also present to provide child finger-printing, and members of Rockingham Fire Department were showcasing firefighting equipment. Later, there was a demonstration on the proper use of the glasses.
Along with her mother and granddaughter, Richmond County citizen Belinda McDonald was among those waiting in line for glasses. McDonald said, “We came here to get glasses and then we’re going to the beach to see the eclipse.”
Others planned to watch the eclipse on the library lawn, and enjoyed the festivities while they waited. The library projected the NASA live-stream of the eclipse. This successful event was made possible through the cooperation and participation of numerous Richmond County agencies/groups/individuals.
Check out our exclusive LIVE AT 5 episode that details more about the solar eclipse. You can also view eclipse footage shot by us on our webpage at www.richmondobserver.com.