SPL’s Michigan pass program expands

For the past several summers, Swanton Public Library patrons have had access to free Michigan State Park passes. Beginning this week, that privilege expanded to include free and reduced access to hundreds of venues.

And it can all be done online with a Swanton Public Library card.

“In the past we were fortunate enough for the Michigan DNR to allow our patrons access to what was initially called Park & Read and later Michigan Big Green Gym,” said Director Janelle Thomas. “That program has been linked to an online version, now called Michigan Activity Pass (MAP), which expands beyond state park passes to numerous locations.”

MAP partnerships include venues ranging from museums, to art institutions, to a plethora of historic and cultural destinations. To take advantage of the program all that is required is access to the Internet, a library card and a printer.

A patron may visit the MAP website at http://michiganactivitypass.info where they can also find a list of participating affiliations. Such partners include the Gilmore Car Museum, the Michigan Science Center, the Detroit Institute of Arts, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum and many, many others.

“The list can almost seem a little bit daunting, it’s so large,” Thomas added. “But it’s easy to narrow your choices down to within certain location parameters.”

Patrons can search for nearby hubs by filling in how far from a zip code they are willing to travel and type in Swanton Public Library as their lending institution.

“By making the entire program accessible online it mitigates the necessity to completely pre-plan a trip to Michigan,” said Thomas. “You can take an impromptu getaway to anywhere, type in that zip code, and see the possible places you can visit.”

The previous program required patrons to check out passes at the library. While patrons may still acquire passes at SPL, they may also do so offsite. The only requirements include Internet access, a valid library card and the ability to print the pass. Original hard copies of passes are required.

MAP is made possible by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan, the Michigan Department of Natural Resources, the Michigan Recreation and Park Association, and The Library Network (of Michigan). The program encourages the use of the state’s parks and recreation facilities to increase physical activity, explore different areas of the state and allow people to enjoy a wide array of resources they may not otherwise experience.

“We’re thrilled for the opportunity to be involved in this program, and to be the first library outside the state to do so is an honor,” Thomas said. “This truly will bring so many possibilities for our patrons to visit an incredibly vast number of destinations.”

For more information or for assistance accessing the program, patrons may visit the library during regular business hours. Step-by-step screen shot procedures are also available at the circulation desk and the library’s Facebook page, www.facebook.com/swantonpubliclibrary.