Harford County Public Library unveils its STEM program for very young children

Children pose with Tales, the Library mascot and Squiggles, Celebree’s mascot along with Library Director, Mary Hastler, Richard Huffman, Celebree CEO, and Amber Shrodes, Library Foundation Director, for the launch of Little Leapers at Bel Air Library on March 27th.

The Harford County Public Library sent along the following update on Little Leapers, its new science, technology, engineering and math program for very young children:


(Belcamp, Maryland – April 26, 2013) Little Leapers was unveiled to an excited crowd of children and caregivers along with program sponsors and library staff on March 27th at the Bel Air Library. Over 80 people were in attendance including 30 children to see the new kits and have the opportunity to participate in several experiments put on by local scientists. Little Leapers is Harford County Public Library’s newest early literacy initiative which consists of pre- and early-literacy kits that focus on fostering and developing pre- and early literacy skills through STEM (science, technology, engineering and math). Targeted for children ages birth to 5 years, these kits are now available system-wide from Harford County Public Library.


The launch event included a science fair with scientists Amy Groth and Mindy Soethe from Aberdeen Proving Ground Safety Office and Rob Lieb with NMTC who did experiments for the children and on-looking adults! The Little Leaper kits were also on display and library staff engaged with the children in play. Media coverage of the event included several Baltimore television stations plus local radio station WAMD broadcasted live from the event.


“Since the day we launched the Little Leapers initiative there has been an outstanding demand for the kits!” stated Library Director, Mary Hastler. “We are thrilled to see the response from the community, both from our customers and from our valued sponsors. This support recognizes the importance these kits have in teaching our youngest children the concepts of math and science while building their early literacy skills,” further explained Hastler.


These unique kits were designed by Harford County Public Library librarians, and contain age-appropriate books, toys, and games along with instructions on how children and their families can use them. Ten kits have been developed and include “I am a Chemist,” “I am a Marine Biologist,” “I am an Entomologist,” “I am a Botanist,” “I am an Architect,” and “I am a Paleontologist.”  Four kits were specifically designed for infants and include “Me and My World,” “Shapes, Colors & Counting,” “My Senses,” and “Baby Animals.”


Support from the Harford County Public Library Foundation was crucial in launching this unique product for Harford County residents. “The Foundation was thrilled to help bring this groundbreaking initiative to fruition,” said David Patzer, Harford County Public Library Foundation President and a supporting sponsor of the program. “We are fortunate to have an innovative and vibrant library system in Harford County, and equally blessed to have community partners that support it so passionately.”


Title sponsor, Celebree Learning Centers, is honored to be a key contributor to the Little Leapers initiative.  “It is amazing to have found a community partner who advocates for preschool education.  The groundbreaking pre-literacy focus of Little Leapers aligns with Celebree’s values and those values extend beyond the walls of our childcare and preschool buildings into the greater community,” stated Richard Huffman, CEO of Celebree.  “Our partnership with Harford County Public Library has given us an avenue to contribute to the community in such an impactful way.  We value our libraries and look forward to the opportunity to work together on many future initiatives. We love the library!”


Supporting sponsors of Little Leapers include SAIC, M&T Bank and Hart to Heart Transportation.


More than 100 Little Leapers kits are available at the Harford County Public Library branches. The loan period for the kits is seven days. Customers can also go online to reserve kits and have them sent to their branch of choice to pick up. For more information contact your local library branch or go online to HCPLonline.org/kids/.


Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County. The library serves more than 176,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of more than 4.5 million. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading within the community.


The Harford County Public Library Foundation is a 501© 3 charitable organization established to raise funds to augment the financial resources of the Library and to promote awareness of Library services. For more information call 410 273 5601 x2283.

Children participated in experiments put on by local scientists at the launch of Little Leapers, pre- and early-literacy kits that focus on STEM education and targeted for children ages birth to 5 years.