After spending the 20 months providing us with the books, audiobooks, DVDs, and other essentials that made our pandemic days at home a little more bearable, the San Diego Public Library wants to help San Diego residents make the transition to our next chapter in life. The one where at least some of the action takes place outside the house.
Earlier this month, the library launched ‘Discover & Go,’ a new program that allows patrons to check out free passes to a collection of local attractions, including the San Diego Zoo, New Children’s Museum , the San Diego Museum of Art and Skateworld. . If you have a library card, you can choose where you want to visit and book a pass for an available date, either online, in person, or over the phone.
And then you can devote yourself to the very important task of enjoying San Diego again.
“We really hope this will allow patrons to experience the cultural events and cultural attractions that we have here,” said Library Director Misty Jones. “During the pandemic, we saw that people really wanted to explore. They have developed so many different hobbies and interests, and this program continues to build on that.
Based on the “Discover & Go” program developed by the Contra Costa County Library, the San Diego version is open to residents 16 years of age and older with an up-to-date San Diego Public Library card. To make a reservation, log into sandiego.discoverandgo.net with your library card, and you can browse the available passes by date or attraction.
There are a number of guidelines to follow, so be sure to check out the “How It Works” instructions on the program’s web page (sandiego.gov/discoversd). Here are some of the basics:
Passes are date specific and reservations can be made up to three months in advance. Some establishments offer family passes, while others offer individual passes only. And there are some institutions that allow you to book only one pass per year. Check all details carefully.
All passes are available on a first come, first served basis, and new passes are released at the start of each month. You can cancel a reservation as long as the passes have not been printed or downloaded. A pass is only valid for the name and date on the pass.
It sounds like a lot of rules, but Jones is happy to report that “Discover & Go” is a big improvement over a previous museum pass program that awarded a finite number of physical passes to libraries in individual branches. The program was good in theory, but aggravating in practice.
“It got to the point where there were hundreds and hundreds of holdings on the passes, and we were getting reports that these were the same people checking them over and over,” Jones said. “The aim was to attract new people who don’t normally go to museums. The way we did it didn’t create that.
Museums are still represented this time around. In addition to the San Diego Museum of Art and the New Children’s Museum, the current list of participants also includes the San Diego Children’s Discovery Museum and the San Diego Archaeological Center (both in Escondido), the JA Cooley Automobile Museum in North Park and Balboa Park’s Museum of Us, Museum of Photographic Arts and San Diego Model Railroad Museum.
In an effort to broaden horizons, passes are also available for the Coronado Historical Association, La Jolla Historical Society, the Marston House Museum and Gardens in Balboa Park, and the Warner Carrillo Ranch House in Warner Springs. The library plans to add more locations as the program progresses, which should give more of San Diego a chance to feel at home in every corner of the community.
And as we rediscover our city, Jones is hopeful that we can begin to rediscover ourselves.
“It brings us together, and I think we need it now more than anything,” said Jones, who envisions a growing program that could include sporting events, theatrical and musical performances.
“When you go out and experience things, who knows who you might meet? I think the ripple effect is something people will really appreciate. Anything you can do to expand people’s education, knowledge, and cultural sensitivity makes you a stronger community and society.
Visit sandiego.gov/discoversd for information about the San Diego Public Library’s “Discover & Go” program.