On a clear, cold night in April, on the high hillside of Leslie Science Center, the Ann Arbor District Library introduced its latest checkout items: Orion Starburst 4.5-inch reflector telescopes. Members of the U-M Lowbrow Astronomers Club brought their own scopes, some really big dogs that allowed gasping, oh-wow views. Families had brought their children on a school night to have the opportunity, a first for many, to look at the night sky through the library’s new tabletop telescopes.

Librarian Amy Cantu says she modeled the AADL’s telescope program on one in New Hampshire, so “I didn’t have to reinvent the wheel.” They’re available for checkout, just like a DVD or a book, and can be reserved through the library’s webpage (aadl.org/telescopes). They’re already so popular that in mid-May, 127 people were waiting to check out one of the seven available. For those who can’t wait, the AADL and the Lowbrows will host another stargazing event, at Leslie on June 27.

As the April party began to wind down, someone in the crowd asked Cantu, “Who was the donor for this great program?” Cantu grinned and said, “You! Your tax dollars at work!”