More and more, public library offerings are extending far beyond their walls. Denice Rovira Hazlett in her article: “Easy Pass | Product Spotlight” reports that many libraries now offer “free or reduced-cost access” to other cultural institutions such as museums, zoos, and gardens (just to name a few). This special access pass is typically checked out of the library and, just like a book, is subject to due dates and fines if not returned on time. And now, like many aspects of the newly emerging public library experience, many of these types of passes can be checked out or reserved online and printed from home without ever having to make a trip to the library.
Hazlett goes on to discuss 5 software products that make online reservation for these types of passes offered by libraries easier for patrons:
1. Discover & Go (http://discoverandgo.org/)
Discover and Go is a program designed by Stacie Deng, for the Contra Costa County Library in Martinez, California. The program allows their patrons to “reserve, print, and go straight to other cultural institutions without ever entering a branch.” So far, the program has “partnered with 43 library systems and 90 cultural organizations and circulated 150,000 museum passes in 2016.”
It’s pointed out by the deputy county librarian of CCCL that one of the most significant aspects of the free passes is that it allows underserved communities the opportunity to visit these cultural institutions on any day, instead of just the designated free times. Personally speaking, this is a great benefit, since typically designated free times at cultural institutions are busy, which makes it potentially difficult to deeply study exhibits. Also, this allows patrons the flexibility to visit the museum for free when it fits into their schedules.
The ePASS was developed as the platform for CCCL’s Discover and Go pass. What’s special about this pass, however, is that it has the flexibility to provide multiple offers to multiple attractions, which even includes “jazz clubs, conventions, swimming pools, and state parks.”
In the spirit of open sharing, one of the ePASS’ other great assets is that it is capable of connecting with other libraries and their nearby institutions, which as a result provides patrons access to a larger range of cultural institutions and attractions.
3. MuseumKey (https://www.museumkey.com)
This museum pass reservation software provides library patrons with an easy and convenient platform to schedule museum visits. The software is also very easy for libraries to operate. Adding new museums to the roster, adjusting and updating calendar availability, email notifications reminders to patrons for their schedules visits, and usage statistics are just a few of this program’s time-saving capabilities.
4. mp.Insight (http://www.libraryinsight.com/products/mpinsight.htm)
With their library card number and pin, library patrons can view available museums and make reservations for a visit. This software allows librarians an array of tools for managing and maintaining museum passes, which also includes options to configure access based on a range of patron criteria. Like MuseumKey, this software offers email notification reminders to patrons and provides usage statistics to library staff.
Passes with this software, however, must be picked up at the library.
This program allows libraries the opportunity to list available museums and passes “in a calendar format”. Patrons can access and browse available passes through the library’s website. Like mp.insight, reserved passes must be picked up at the library and also checked back in.
Have you checked to see what your local Library offers beyond its walls? Maybe they too offer free passes to cultural institutions and events nearby.
Posted by: Josh LaMore LIS 653-1
Hazlett, D. R. (2017, February 15). Easy Pass: Product Spotlight. Retrieved From: https://data-economy.com/data-centers-going-green-to-reduce-a-carbon-footprint-larger-than-the-airline-industry/