Your library can help you ‘borrow’ a free Discover Pass

Pierce County libraries are also offering a backpack with educational materials and binoculars, while King County libraries are just letting people check out the passes.

Pierce County Library System users can now check out a Discover Pass and a backpack with educational materials from their local libraries (Buckley users may have to go to Sumner until their branch opens). King County Library System users can also check out a Discover Pass, but not a backpack. Image courtesy Washington State Library

Pierce County Library System users can now check out a Discover Pass and a backpack with educational materials from their local libraries (Buckley users may have to go to Sumner until their branch opens). King County Library System users can also check out a Discover Pass, but not a backpack. Image courtesy Washington State Library

Your local libraries can now help you explore the great outdoors.

Last year, Washington State Parks launched the “Check Out Washington” program, which allowed patrons of 37 libraries across the state to “check out” a Discover Pass for a week in order to visit state parks. The Pierce County Library System and the Buckley Library were a part of that pilot year.

The program has expanded this year to include 175 libraries, including the King County Library System and the Enumclaw Library.

“We are resuming and expanding Check Out Washington to give people who may not have the means to purchase their own Discover Pass an opportunity to visit some of our beautiful parks and lands,” Washington State Deputy Librarian Crystal Rowe said in a press release.

How library patrons can check out a Discover Pass may depend on which library system they belong to.

Unfortunately for interested Buckleyites, the Buckley and Bonney Lake libraries remain closed due to the coronavirus pandemic, so they will have to travel to the Sumner Library to pick up their pass.

It’s not yet known when the Buckley library will open, but it will happen “in the coming weeks,” said Communications Director Mary Getchell. “It will be weeks, not months.”

However, instead of being able to check out a Discover Pass for just one week, PCLS patrons can keep the pass for four weeks, Getchell continued.

Unlike last year, patrons may also put a hold on a Discover Pass if they’re all currently checked out, and they’ll be alerted when a pass is available to them.

The pass also comes with an activity backpack that includes a pair of binoculars, pamphlet guides to Washington trees, wildflowers and birds, and a state map listing all state park locations. This year, the number of backpacks has increased from 18 to 30.

In order to make sure users remain healthy and safe, these backpacks are quarantined for four days after they’re returned to PCLS, Getchell said, in accordance with CDC guidelines.

Enumclaw library patrons will have to wait a little longer before KCLS launches the program.

According to Sarah Thomas, the library system’s public relations specialist, KCLS will be receiving 10 passes, but is still working out the logistics of how they’ll be checked out or put on hold.

She added that KCLS only plans on offering the Discover Passes, and not the backpack kits.


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