The following is a republished press release from a community organization or member and NOT written by The Ithaca Voice …  click here to submit community announcements directly to The Voice, or contact me at koconnor@ithacavoice.com.

The Paleontological Research Institution (PRI) and the Finger Lakes Library System are pleased to announce a new community accessibility partnership, the Library Access Program (LAP). The Library Access Program will enable libraries the opportunity to provide their cardholders with free general admission to both of PRI’s public venues, the Museum of the Earth and the Cayuga Nature Center. Free participation for libraries for the first year of the program is being made possible by grants from the John Ben Snow Foundation and the J.M. McDonald Foundation.

“Public Libraries are the greatest equalizers and educate the communities for which they serve regardless of income level,” said Jennifer Schlosberg, Head of Access and Circulation Services at Tompkins County Public Library. “The LAP will provide libraries another tool to deliver their missions of free and open access to services, resources, and programs.” Similar to checking out a library book, library members will be able to check out passes that will allow them and their family free entrance to both venues.  The LAP is part of PRI’s Community Access Program, which was created to ensure those with special needs and/or limited resources have access to PRIs two venues.

The Library Access Program will be made available to all 33 libraries in the Finger Lakes Library System, as well as four Tompkins County college and university libraries. As Priscilla Berggren, Director of Philips Free Library wrote, “Programs like LAP allow libraries to make great resources available to our communities, resources that we couldn’t possibly create on our own.”

Sarah Glogowski, Director of the Finger Lakes Library System, writes: “Libraries are more than just books. They are increasingly considered community centers, where cultural enrichment occurs. Having access to the [Museum of the Earth] and the Cayuga Nature Center through a free pass that could be borrowed would greatly enhance this community cultural enrichment that our libraries strive to provide.”

PRI received funding for the program in the form of a $10,000 grant from the John Ben Snow Foundation, and will dedicate a $5,000 portion of a grant from the J.M. McDonald Foundation to implement LAP as part of PRI’s Community Accessibility Program.

The John Ben Snow Foundation focuses funding solely in Central New York (defined as Syracuse, NY and surrounding counties) across a range of program areas while responding to the ever-changing needs of various segments of the population, especially to the needs of youth and people who are disadvantaged either physically or economically. The John Ben Snow Foundation provides funding in the areas of Arts and Culture, Community Initiatives, Education, Environment, Historic Preservation, Journalism, Disabilities and Universal Access, and Youth Initiatives.

The J.M. McDonald Foundation is a trust whose income is to be used as donations to deserving charities and is active in awarding grants primarily in upstate New York. Primary interests of the Foundation are education, humanities, health, and a variety of social and human services.

For more information on the LAP, please contact Georgia Lesh, Director of Development and Marketing for PRI, at development@priweb.org, or contact your local library.

Kelsey O'Connor

Kelsey O'Connor is the managing editor for the Ithaca Voice. Questions? Story tips? Contact her at koconnor@ithacavoice.com and follow her on Twitter @bykelseyoconnor.