2017-12-07 / Front Page

State park passes, backpack kit available for check out at library

Sidalee Goble, 4, and Lynnley Goldman, 4, show off the Lincoln County Library’s Georgia State Park Pass and explorer backpack kit that can now be checked out by library patrons for use at any state park or site. Sidalee Goble, 4, and Lynnley Goldman, 4, show off the Lincoln County Library’s Georgia State Park Pass and explorer backpack kit that can now be checked out by library patrons for use at any state park or site. While most people recognize the Lincoln County Library as a quiet haven where they can peruse books and magazines, there’s something else buried within the library’.s .re­sources that could make even the most avid of readers put down their favorite, dog-eared hardback and break for the outdoors.

It’s the “ParkPass Library Loan Program,” and in cooperation with Georgia state parks and historic sites, patrons can visit any state park for free – all that’s needed is a library card.

“It’s a good way to engage people in exploring the natural world when they may not have an opportunity otherwise to do so,” Library Direc­tor Shirley Dawkins said.

The Georgia Department of Natu­ral Resources distributes two park passes a year to all libraries on the Georgia Pines System. Up to four visitors in possession of each pass will be admitted at no charge to any historic site operated by Georgia state parks, recreation, and historic sites. Patrons should be wary, how­ever, because the pass has a daily late fee of $3. If it’s lost or stolen, there is a $50 replacement fine.

Recently, in an effort to grow the state ParkPass program, those with Georgia’s Public Library Service have made even further strides by creating a “backpack checkout” to accompany the park passes.

Library patrons can now check out a special stuffed backpack kit at any of the Georgia’s public libraries, the Lincoln County Library included.

“Each co-branded kit includes a sturdy, five-pocket backpack con­taining a pair of 5x30 binoculars, a guide to Georgia’s state parks and historic sites, and foldout Pocket Naturalist Guides to Georgia wild­life, Georgia birds, and Georgia trees and wildflowers,” state library officials reported.

As with the park passes, the backpack kits may be checked out for one week at a time, and must be checked out separately from the park passes.

“Our goal for these backpack kits is to help families learn about nature and the natural wonders we have throughout the state,” State Librarian Julie Walker said. “And this objective aligns well with the important role that libraries play in education for all Georgians. From backyards and local parts to any – or all – of Georgia’s state parks, historic sites, and National Park Service lands, the learning oppor­tunities here are endless.”

The loan program, which is also nearing its 10-year anniversary, has saved patrons an estimated $1 million in admissions and parking fees.

Not only are park passes offered to patrons at the Lincoln County Library, but so are passes to several other attractions around the state, including the Go Fish Education Center, and Zoo Atlanta. Once again, all that’s needed is a library card.

At the Go Fish Education Center in Perry, patrons can explore fresh­water aquariums full of bass, trout, and a variety of other species, along with viewing underwater habitats from mountain streams to blackwa­ter swamps. Guests can even visit the center’s hatchery, and learn how fish are raised.

The center hosts alligators and other aquatic wildlife, and invites people to partake in their fishing and hunting simulators, or utilize their outdoor fishing pond.

The pass for the Go Fish Educa­tion Center is good for up to four people.

Library patrons can access zoo passes by requesting the Zoo At­lanta Pass DVD. Upon returning the DVD, a librarian will then provide an authorized receipt on which patrons fill out their names. Presen­tation of the receipt at Zoo Atlanta then allows for two adults and two children to enter the park.

Passes to the Michael C. Carlos Museum at Emory University offer patrons the opportunity to explore many culturally diverse collections and exhibits. The museum sets to preserve art and artifacts from antiq­uity to the present in order to provide unique opportunities for education and enrichment in the community, and to promote interdisciplinary teaching and research at Emory University.

The Lincoln County Library also offers a 25 percent discount pass card for The Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. Up to four are ad­mitted with a ticket that includes a family series performance, a create- a-puppet workshop, and a tour of the puppetry museum.

Discounts tickets to the Georgia Aquarium are also available at the library.

Those interested in checking out a pass with the Library Loan Program must be in good standing, which is having a minimum $10 fine on their record. Pass holders may also be required to show identification, and are subject to all site rules and regulations implemented by the individual entities participating in the Library Loan Program.

For more information, contact the Lincoln County Library at 706- 359-4014.

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