Since ancient times, the libraries have offered the citizens served by them the loan of books and other educational and informational materials at no charge.
This still holds true today, and the Putnam County-based libraries of the Mid-Hudson Library System are offering residents even greater opportunities to gain information, an entertainment, in more ways than just with books.
Since 2010, the Patterson Public Library, Mahopac Public Library, Kent Public Library, Reed Memorial Library, Desmond Fish Library in Garrison, and the Julia L. Butterfield Memorial Library in Cold Spring, have participated in a program which offers cardholders of each, respective library free or reduced-price admission to the region’s most popular museums and attractions such as the Intrepid Sea, Air, & Space Museum and the Museum of Natural History in New York City, the Katonah Art Museum, the Stepping Stones Museum for Children, and many, many more.
Though all of the above libraries offer the chance of visiting a variety of institutions for little or no money, the policies for borrowing the passes differ based on the library.
A common thread among the libraries, though, is the fact that there is a limited amount of time one can keep the museum pass, and all of the libraries require a deposit to take out a pass that will be fully refunded when the pass is returned. Just like the other materials that might be checked out of the library, there is a late fee if the museum passes are returned past the due date.
To obtain one of the passes, residents must be at least 18 years old and must be a cardholder at the respective library.
The only exception is the Patterson Public Library, which lends museum passes to any card-holding member of the Mid-Hudson Library System. At some libraries, passes can be reserved or put on hold online or over the phone, but at others, such as the Mahopac Public Library, passes are only distributed in person.
All of the libraries require that patrons have a borrowing record with no current outstanding fines or late fees.
Many of the passes cover a family, but the actual number of people covered might vary depending on which museum or institution is offering the pass, so patrons should inquire about the details when checking out one of the passes.
For example, the Intrepid Sea, Air, and Space Museum offers free admission for up to six guests, while the Guggenheim offers free admission for five adults plus any number of guests under 18 years old.
Other institutions, such as the Mystic Aquarium in Connecticut, offer only a discount; in this case, $6 off two adult tickets and $4 off two childrens’ tickets,
“To be able to travel to a destination you’ve never been to before without spending a load of money is what this program is all about,” said Patricia Kaufman, Director of Operations at Mahopac Public Library. “It allows families to do something fun and productive, even if the budget is tight.”
Many of the libraries’ museum pass programs are funded by helper organizations, such as the Friends of Mahopac Public Library and the Friends of Kent Public Library.
The Patterson Public Library was the first of the Putnam County libraries to adopt this program which had been used before by libraries elsewhere. According to Lillie Muscente of Patterson Public Library, 320 different Patterson families have used the museum pass program from its commencement in early 2010 through July of this year, yielding approximately $18,000 in savings.
Additional information on the passes can be obtained by visiting the respective library’s website.