NORTH ADAMS, Mass. — The North Adams Public Library will host a yearlong astronomy program and film series and memory of the late state Rep. Gailanne Cariddi.
Starting Thursday, Jan. 18, the library will host a "Look Up" movie series based on the cosmos using some of the $7,500 left by Cariddi's estate, earmarked for astronomy, after she passed in 2017.
"Since we couldn't decide how to spend that kind of money on books alone, we decided to do a multimedia program," Library Director Mindy Hackner said. "I think Gail wanted us ... to pay attention to some larger things that are going on instead of just focusing on the mundane."
The somewhat enigmatic gift was received this past summer after the four-term representative's death last June. Hackner said a close friend of Cariddi also donated $1,000 that was added to the gift designated specifically for learning materials on astronomy.
Hacnker said the library will show "Close Encounters of The Third Kind" on Jan. 18 at 6 p.m. on the third floor of the library.
She said other films include "Apollo 13," "Gravity," "Contact," "Space Buddies" and "Starman" and more might be shown in the following months.
Hackner said some money from the gift was used to purchase the movie licenses, however, they only scraped the surface of the donation.
"There is plenty of gift money and it will last a while," she said.
The library will roll out more programming throughout the year and try to coincide with NASA's yearlong celebration. She said currently the theme is "Life on the International Space Station" that will link with the movie "Apollo 13."
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration is currently marking 100 years of aerospace breakthroughs starting with the 1917 establishment of the Langley Research Center in Hampton, Va.
The library will be using its telescope to view the blue moon on Jan. 31 and acknowledge other events such as the current alignment of Mercury, Mars, Venus with the Moon. There also will be visits to the Williams College Planetarium and guest lecturers such as a presentation on "Native American Star Mythology."
Hackner said popcorn will be served during the films and she hopes residents attend the film series and programming to learn something and remember Cariddi.
"I think right now we all need some distraction because the world is a rough place and I think we need something fun to concentrate on, something outside of ourselves," she said. "I think if Gail was here, she would have told us the universe is a big, wonderful place, and if we can look up, we can take a break from what might be going on here."
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