County library branches offer more than books

Variety: Harford patrons can find resources for sick children, help finding a job and - soon - a place to play basketball.

October 27, 2002|By Justin Beck | Justin Beck,SUN STAFF

Harford County will open two new library branches during the next year, in White Hall in January and another next fall in Abingdon.

The new Abingdon branch library, a 35,000-square-foot building on 16 acres at 2520 Tollgate Road, will be the second-largest in the county.

Bel Air's is the biggest, but the Abingdon branch will have its own distinct features: drive-through book pickup and drop-off, a coffee shop and an outdoor amphitheater.

"We hope that, because of the location [next to Emmorton Elementary School], that we will be able to provide a unique array of services, including wildlife projects, to help foster better education and better use of all the resources the library has to offer by the community," said Audra Kaplan, interim director of Harford County Public Library.

"We have been so well funded by this county government that we have been able to do some great things for Harford," said Kaplan.

Other county library branches, and some of their programs and characteristics, according to Kaplan, are:

Bel Air, 100 E. Pennsylvania Ave. It offers an array of services, including the young parents program, which offers books on the needs of children and how a parent can cope with the stress of raising a child.

"Cheers for Children," a program of the Bel Air library branch, assembles care packages for children who are undergoing stressful experiences such as hospitalization. The packages include books and toys that help them better understand what they are experiencing.

Aberdeen, 21 Franklin St. The branch features the Ripken Learning Center, a program supported by former Oriole Cal Ripken Jr. that focuses on adult literacy. There are four computers equipped with software geared for adult literacy and English as a second language. There is also a separate training center in the library equipped with 10 computers that are used for various classes, including courses designed to help people find jobs.

Havre de Grace, 120 N. Union Ave. The branch is extending the role of the library with its "Learn to Earn" program. In it, librarians provide residents with assistance in finding jobs and creating professional resumes with a personal computer.

Edgewood, 629 Edgewood Road. This branch is one of the fastest-growing in the Harford system. All of the computers are equipped with software intended to help students and small-business owners.

Darlington, 1134 Main St. The smallest branch, it offers personal service.

Fallston/Jarrettsville, 1461 Fallston Road, Fallston.

Joppa, 655 Towne Center Dr.

Whiteford, 2407 Whiteford Road.

Norrisville, 5310 Norrisville Road, White Hall. "The Norrisville Branch is an example of Harford County libraries trying to meet community needs. We asked people what they wanted in the community and they said, `A library and a basketball court.' We gave them both - and both in the same building," said Kaplan. The branch will open in January. The basketball court and library will be separated by a meeting room.

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