Georgia residents can now check out a stuffed backpack kit at any of the state’s 400-plus public libraries and, in combination with an already available state ParkPass, take it with them on a free visit to any of Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites.
Each co-branded kit includes a sturdy, five-pocket backpack containing a pair of 5×30 binoculars, a guide to Georgia’s State Parks & Historic Sites and foldout Pocket Naturalist Guides to Georgia Wildlife, Georgia Birds and Georgia Trees & Wildflowers.
The kits are the latest additions to the popular ParkPass library loan program, which will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in the coming year. More than 100,000 families have checked out and used a ParkPass since Georgia Public Library Service and Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites began the program, which has saved residents more than $1 million in admissions and parking fees.
“Our goal for these backpack kits is to help families learn about nature and the natural wonders we have throughout the state,” said State Librarian Julie Walker, “and this objective aligns well with the important role that libraries play in education for all Georgians. From backyards and local parks to any — or all — of Georgia’s state parks, historic sites and National Park Service lands, the learning opportunities here are endless.”
The loan period for the backpack kits is one week, matching that of the ParkPasses, which must be checked out separately. This project is made possible, in part, with funds provided by a grant to GPLS from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) through the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA).