Festivities began with a Preschooler Fun Day at the Whiteford Branch. Creative Ways preschool attended the morning’s activities along with numerous families. Guests were delighted to meet Tales, the library mascot, and Ferrous, the Ironbirds’ mascot. Children participated in a story time, played in the puppet theatre and, of course, signed up for the Summer Reading Program.
“Summer reading is so important for children to participate in. Studies show that students that read during the summer return to school in the fall prepared to learn,” stated Library Director, Mary Hastler. “Harford County Public Library makes the summer reading experience fun with incentives, programs and activities for all ages!” Hastler further explained.
Later in the day at the Abingdon Branch, 600 children and teens registered for summer reading with many attending the LEAP (Learn Explore and Play) Kit Science Fair where local scientists provided demonstrations. LEAP kits are a collection of high-quality science equipment, materials and resources.
The LEAP Kit Science Fair kicked off a partnership between the NMTC (Northeastern Maryland Technology Council) and HCPL to dramatically expand the number of LEAP kits the library has to offer the community. The LEAP Sponsorship Program is made possible by contributions and leadership from NMTC and offers businesses interested in supporting STEM (Science Technology Engineering Mathematics) learning an opportunity to sponsor the LEAP kits for the Library. Raytheon and RTR Technologies have already supported the effort with sponsorships for the Mindstorms Robot and the WeDo Robotics kits.
“STEM learning is a top priority for our organization and its partners,” stated John Casner, Executive Director, NMTC, and personally the sponsor of the LEAP Bridge Engineering Kit. Casner was on hand at the LEAP Science Fair to help launch the program. “We know how important it is to provide our youth with the opportunity to experiment with these resources as curiosity will plant the seeds for further learning in these fields,” Casner further explained.
For the first time the LEAP kits will count towards readers’ Summer Reading Program requirements, an effort to help fill the “learning gap” created during the summer months.
Last year more than 18,000 young readers participated in the Summer Reading Program, which offers reading programs for children birth through high school. All participants receive a free book bag when they register and a new book or a gift certificate upon completion. Incentives are while supplies last.
The Summer Reading Program is one of HCPL’s largest outreach efforts and is supported entirely by sponsorships. This year’s generous sponsors are HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union, Annie E. Casey Foundation, The Aegis, PNC Bank, HCPL Foundation, Aberdeen Rotary Club, Berardino Family Trust, Huether-McClelland Foundation, APG Federal Credit Union, James Kennedy, Lucie Snodgrass, Mary McClelland, and Mark and Mary Hastler.
“HAR-CO is proud to continue their community commitment in supporting the Harford County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program for the eighth consecutive year,” stated Teresa Knox of HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union. “We recognize the importance of this program for the students and families in our community,” she added.
Please visit hcplonline.org for more information on the Summer Reading Program. To inquire about LEAP kit sponsorship opportunities and to access the online automated system, please visit hcplonline.org/programs/leap.
Harford County Public Library operates eleven branches located throughout Harford County, Maryland. The library serves over 210,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of almost 4,700,000. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading within the community.
Photo caption #1: Summer Reading Kickoff at Preschooler Fun Day at the Whiteford Branch included appearances by Tales, the library mascot, and Ferrous, the Ironbirds’ mascot. Children from Creative Ways, a local preschool, enjoyed meeting both before Story Time.
Photo caption #2: Sponsors, staff, and mascots gathered for Whiteford Preschooler Fun Day. Pictured from left to right: Daphne Wiese, Circulation Manager, Whiteford Branch; Cecilia Gast, PNC Bank; Claudia Sumler, Senior Administrator, Harford County Public Library; Mary Hastler, Director, Harford County Public Library; Amber Shrodes, Foundation Director; Harford County Public Library; Heidi Richardson, Branch Manager, Whiteford Branch; Jessica Jourdan, APG Federal Credit Union; Tara Ringgold and Susan Giannini, HAR-CO Maryland Federal Credit Union; Dick Kinard, Library Board of Trustees and Foundation Board member. Seated: Kristen DeLambo, Library Associate; Alex Anastasi-Hill, Summer Reading Volunteer.
Photo caption #3: Children learn about rocks and much more at the LEAP (Learn Explore and Play) Science Fair at the Abingdon Branch.
Photo caption #4: Summer Reading Kickoff LEAP Science Fair at the Abingdon Branch included an appearance by Ferrous, the Ironbirds’ mascot along with staff members and program sponsors. Pictured from left to right: (front row : Nichole Johnson and Jenna Weitzel, HAR-CO Federal Credit Union; Vicki DeGraw, PNC Bank; Amber Shrodes, Foundation Director, Harford County Public Library; Lisa Mittman, Branch Manager, Abingdon Branch; David Shaffer, NMTC Member and wife, Kathy; Cynthia Hergenhahn, President, Abingdon Friends; Dick Kinard, Library Board of Trustees and Foundation Board member; (back row) Mary Hastler, Director, Harford County Public Library; Tamara Zavislan, Executive Director, Community Foundation; Kathy Wajer, Foundation Board member; Ferrous, Ironbirds’ mascot; Kevin Wiley, PNC Bank; John Casner, Executive Director, NMTC; Randy Rippin, President, RTR Technologies.