Go to the library to gear up for Georgia's state parks, historic sites

Go to the library to gear up for Georgia's state parks, historic sites

September 26th, 2017 by Staff Report in Breaking News

FILE - In this Feb. 22, 2106 file photo, a pedestrian walks by the library at the Georgia State University campus in Atlanta. Getting through college is not an easy task, but it can be even harder for low-income or first generation students who have few support resources. Now big data can help them. Researchers at Georgia State University spent four years analyzing students’ grades, test scores and other data in order to identify those who were at risk of failing and promptly assist them. The results have been remarkable: the number of students graduating has jumped by 30 percent and students are spending less time and money to earn a degree. (AP Photo/David Goldman, File)

Photo by The Associated Press /Times Free Press.

Libraries aren't just for books.

Now Georgians can go to the library to get geared up for the outdoors.

Beginning the last day of September, Georgia residents can check out backpacks stuffed with gear for outings in Georgia state parks and historic sites.

The backpacks will be available starting Sept. 30 for checkout at any of Georgia's more than 400 public libraries to team up with a state ParkPass, already available for loan, and take to any state park or historic site, officials said in a statement issued Tuesday.

Each kit comes with 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, birds, trees and wildflowers.

The kits are the latest additions to the ParkPass library loan program, which will celebrate its 10-year anniversary in the coming year, officials said.

More than 100,000 families have checked out and used a ParkPass since the Georgia Public Library Service and Georgia State Parks & Historic Sites began the program, officials said.

The program 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, and this objective aligns well with the important role that libraries play in education for all Georgians," State Librarian Julie Walker said.

The loan period for the backpack kits is one week, matching that of the ParkPass, which must be checked out separately, officials said.

The project is made possible in part with funds from a grant to the Georgia Public Library System from the Institute of Museum and Library Services through the federal Library Services and Technology Act.