Indiana library program to 'check out' state parks continues in 2017

Indiana library program to 'check out' state parks continues in 2017
Posted at 12:21 PM, Jan 18, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-18 12:21:56-05

LAWRENCEBURG, Ind. -- Hoosiers can once again check out state parks by checking out an entrance pass from most public libraries around Indiana in 2017.

The Annual Pass Library Check-out Program is a partnership between Indiana State Parks and the Indiana State Library to encourage people to visit libraries and parks. Beginning Feb. 1, library districts across Indiana will each have one of 240 state park passes placed in circulation at one of the district’s branches for check-out.

The passes will provide access to Indiana’s 32 state parks and also to Indiana’s state forest recreation areas where entrance fees are charged (review the list of entrance fees here).

Barbara Bonney, director of the Lawrenceburg Public Library District, expects its two branches to each get one pass, which can only be checked out in person for a one-week time frame by anybody holding a library card (free to Dearborn County residents). She said the program, which began as a pilot initiative of the Indiana State Parks' Centennial Celebration, saw great success in Dearborn County in 2016.

"They loved it," Bonney said. "Of the two park passes, they were checked out 45 times in the span of the year."

The program will be evaluated based on the number of times passes are checked out and how they are used. Those who check out the passes will be asked to complete a short survey at the library when they pick up the pass.

“Our goal is to provide access to our great Indiana State Parks for those who may have never visited,” said Ginger Murphy, deputy director of stewardship for Indiana State Parks. “We also hope that those who come in to check out the annual pass will take time to explore the services and materials available in Indiana’s libraries.”

The Indiana State Library helped pay for the parks pass program. Some local libraries may purchase additional passes to ensure that each branch has one pass for check-out.

“The State Library is excited about this extended partnership with Indiana State Parks,” said State Librarian Jacob Speer. “The partnership gives library patrons an opportunity to explore the many beautiful state park locations across Indiana simply by using their library card to check-out the free passes.”

Check-out duration for the passes may vary by site. Visit your local public library for details about check-out durations.