Telescope Policy and Procedure


Columbia Pubic Library has acquired two telescopes and is one of 900+ libraries participating in the International Library Telescope Program. Columbia Library is partnering with the St. Louis Astronomical Society to maintain these telescopes for ongoing patron use. These telescopes give patrons access to a quality telescope that will allow patrons a bright, detailed view of solar system targets like the Moon and planets, as well as wide-field celestial objects like nebulas and star clusters.

Telescope Borrowing Guidelines

Telescopes are available to any Columbia Public Library patron, 18 years and older, with an account in good standing (i.e. library record is not blocked due to unpaid fees or lost materials in excess of $5). Patron checking out must show proof of photo ID to verify they are the cardholder. Patron must sign a ‘Library Telescope Responsibility & Agreement” stating they acknowledge and agree to follow the Telescope loaning rules and will pay any replacement cost and fines accrued during their time with the telescope.


    • are limited to one telescope per household due to demand,
    • may be reserved,

    • may be checked out for 14 days,

    • may be checked out by a household no more than twice quarterly,

    • may be renewed once if no other requests are outstanding; overdue fines are $5.00 per day with a maximum accrued charge of $100.00.

Telescopes must be returned directly to staff inside the Columbia Public Library at the checkout desk during regular business hours. Failure to return the telescope to the checkout desk will result in denial of future borrowing privileges. If the telescope is lost or damaged, please contact the library immediately. The replacement fee of the telescope and kit is $684; see itemized list of cost below. Damage charges will be assessed based on the cost of repair. A bill for the full replacement amount will be mailed out three to four weeks from its overdue date.

What you will find with the Telescope?

The following items are included in the unit that is checked out to patrons.

    • Orion StarBlast 4.5 Astro Reflector Telescope with Base – $414
    • 8-24 mm zoom lens (attached to telescope) – $50
    • Red dot Finder (attached to telescope) – $40
    • Camera Bag – $10
    • Audubon Constellation Guide – $12
    • Headlamp – $12
    • Laminated instruction manual (flip guide) – $5
    • Telescope decals and rope – $6

Library Responsibility 

The Columbia Public Library is not responsible for any harm done to person/s using or handling this equipment. Any damage or alterations made during patron’s loan period will be assessed by the St. Louis Astronomical Society who will help determine the cost of what will be needed to bring the telescope back to the original condition.

Patron Responsibility 

By borrowing this equipment and signing the “Library Telescope Responsibility & Agreement” form, the patron agrees not to:

    • Lose, damage, or make any alterations to the equipment
    • Use the telescope to view the sun as it WILL cause permanent blindness
    • Carry the telescope in any way other than by its black base.
    • Place the telescope anywhere in the car except in a seat with a seatbelt around it. The telescope may not be put in the trunk, the footwell, or on a lap.

Amendment of Rules

The Library Director may approve exceptions to this policy. The Columbia Public Library Board of Trustees reserves the right to review and amend this policy at any time.

Useful Video on Telescope Care and Maintenance (NHAS)