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Library ‘Culture Pass’ program leads to 2,000-plus online applications on first day

The new initiative gives library cardholders free access to 33 cultural institutions.

The city's

The city's "Culture Pass" program, which allows New Yorkers to use public library cards as admission at some museums, caused a spike in card applications on Monday, July 16, 2018. Photo Credit: Vincent Barone

New Yorkers are big fans of culture — especially when it’s free.

People rushed to get library cards on Monday to take advantage of the city’s new “Culture Pass” initiative that gives cardholders free access to 33 cultural institutions.

The program is open to cardholders from all three systems — the New York Public Library, Brooklyn Public Library and Queens Library — who can reserve passes through a shared website.

But the newly unveiled website struggled to handle the demand surge on Monday morning, crashing and freezing as people tried to log on with their library card information.

Officials from the New York Public Library said they had received more than 2,000 new library card applications through its online service on Monday — seven times the daily average. The number of walk-in registrations and culture pass reservations were not yet available.

The Queens Library said it received over 400 online applications, about 37 percent higher than usual. Brooklyn Public Library officials said they also expected an uptick in applications but did not yet have statistics available.

The program is designed to make the city’s cultural sites, such as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Brooklyn Botanic Garden and Queens Museum, more accessible.

The cultural institutions fund the “Culture Pass” admission fees while donations pay for administrative costs of running the program.

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