EARLY LITERACY CELEBRATES A MILESTONE AT HARFORD COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY

(Belcamp, Maryland – November 16, 2012) Harford County Public Library (HCPL) launched the Learning & Sharing Collection in the 1970’s, knowing the importance of play and the use of toys to help to promote early literacy, and the fact that parent-child interaction with books and toys is critical for reading and writing readiness. The Learning & Sharing Collection, which is celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, includes developmental toys, puppets, puzzles, DVDs, books, magazines and kits for children ages birth to five. The Collection was recently expanded and now contains over 17,000 items that customers can borrow to enhance early literacy interaction.

“Providing an environment to explore and play while building pre-literacy along with early literacy skills for our youngest customers is a priority for Harford County Public Library,” said Mary Hastler, Library Director.

In celebration of the Collection’s anniversary the Bel Air Library held a special story time on Wednesday, November 14th. Over forty children and their parents joined in on the fun. “The toys selected were perfect for the children to play with and the fingerplay and song words on the big screen were a great idea,” commented Dawn Johnson, a parent participant. “For the first time I took copies of the books, read by the librarians, home to read to my 18 month old grandson. He sat still and listened to every one of them!”

The Learning & Sharing Collection also includes kits containing age-appropriate materials that support the different stages of child development on specific topics. These special theme kits include materials on topics such as the alphabet, colors, numbers, shapes, music and rhythm, time, fine motor skills, language development and medical experiences for children such as going to the dentist or doctor.

The Learning & Sharing Collection items and kits can be borrowed for 7 days with a one-time renewal. Individual items can be browsed at the Aberdeen, Abingdon, Bel Air, Edgewood or Joppa Libraries. Kits can be found at the Bel Air Library. All Learning & Sharing Collection items and kits can also be requested online and picked up at any Harford County Public Library branch.

Harford County Public Library supports early literacy through many other programs and services. This includes the Opening the Gift and the Sharing the Gift outreach programs that visit daycare centers; the Puppy Tales Club which offers parents, caregivers and children, ages birth through preschool, the opportunity to learn about the early literacy practices of talking, singing, reading, writing and playing that help babies and young children become ready to read; and the Families Read and Succeed program, based at the Edgewood Library, which offers family meal time events, classroom visits, and Learning Parties, which are interactive, hands-on parent/child parties.

For more information on the Learning & Sharing Collection or any of the early literacy programs at HCPL please go to HCPLonline.org or visit your local Library branch.

Harford County Public Library operates eleven branches located throughout Harford County, Maryland. The library serves over 175,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of 4.5 million. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading within the community.

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Photo caption: Children and parents interact during the 35th Anniversary Story Time for The Learning and Sharing Collection.

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