The state of Indiana is thrilled to celebrate its Bicentennial in 2016, but the Indiana State Parks are also celebrating an important milestone–their hundredth birthday. The Indiana State Parks system was a gift to the people of Indiana in 1916 in celebration of the state’s centennial. And what better way to celebrate than to give the people of Indiana the gift of discovering their state parks—for free!
The State Park Centennial 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. The Indiana State Library helped pay for the program and distributed one state park pass to each of the 240 public library systems in the state.
The parks passes, which provide access to Indiana’s thirty-two state parks and also to Indiana’s state forest recreation areas are only available for checkout from January 1-December 31, 2016. The Indiana Public Library listserv has been alive with discussion about how each library is handling circulation policies for this unique program.
Some libraries have chosen to purchase additional park passes to meet patron demand. The Indianapolis Public Library is purchasing additional state park passes and the passes check out for one week at a time. The passes are sure to be in constant circulation. As of January 19, there were 173 requests for the passes at Indianapolis Public Library. It’s a win-win for the library: patrons are happy with the new perk, and it’s bringing in new patrons interested in the state parks who, in turn, can learn more about the library.
“I’m just amazed at the popularity of this initiative,” said Mike Williams, Area Resource Manager at the Indianapolis Public Library. “My family has always enjoyed using our Indiana State Park Pass, but I never thought about circulating one to Library patrons. Clearly there’s a huge demand for this type of service. I’m glad the State Parks are celebrating with all of the public libraries in Indiana.”