The totes are in

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The “Clue Into Reading” tote bags for the Harford County Public Library’s Summer Reading Program have arrived at the Bel Air branch. Kids who signed up when the program started in mid-June were given little red vouchers to redeem for the bags, which apparently failed to arrive in time for the kick-off. (Red bags that fold up into handy little clutches were immediately available for the younger kids in the Read-to-me program). This was a big deal for my son, who was looking forward to getting a tote like he did last year. The lightweight bags are great for keeping in the car so you have them when you hit the library. I’m always finding myself balancing a precarious pile of books, videos and CDs as the kids and I make our way back to the car. According to the library’s blog, almost 4,000 kids signed up for the reading program so far this summer.

Other things I learned at the library:

I hear that the day after July 4 was a boom day at the Bel Air branch. Check-out lines stretched all the way to the stairs all day long. Librarians attributed the crush to the rainy weather and the three days the library was closed during the holiday. I went a day later and it wasn’t crowded, but the children’s videos were rather picked over.

I saw they are selling those bracelets Bel Air’s World Champion figure skater Kimmie Meissner designed for the Cool Kids campaign for $2 at the Bel Air branch’s Library Store. Proceeds benefit pediatric cancer patients. The store has some other cute items worth a look. Jump ropes with wooden handles carved and painted to look like caterpillars and other animals are less than $5.

Whenever I’m at the library check-out counter there is always someone in line surprised that they have an outstanding overdue book fine to pay. I find the library’s online “Review my account” feature really helpful. I just sign on and it shows me all my due dates (it can sort them earliest to latest for me). If I’m getting close to a due date, I click the renew button. As long as no one has requested the item, I get extra time to return. I usually renew things even if I plan to return them on time in case something comes up and I don’t make it to the library that day.