New library, doubling in size, features specialized areas for children and business
A ribbon cutting for the new Havre de Grace Library, doubling in size and offering specialized areas for children and business, was held the morning of Wednesday, June 15.
The ribbon-cutting ceremony featured remarks by Mary Hastler, CEO of Harford County Public Library, and Alex Allman, chairperson of the Harford County Public Library board of trustees. Rev. James Snodgrass of St. John’s Episcopal Church in Havre de Grace provided the invocation. Larry O’Neal, Havre de Grace poet laureate, read the poem, “Knowledge.”
Proclamations and remarks were given by Michael Baker on behalf of Congressman Dutch Ruppersberger; Secretary of Planning David R. Craig, on behalf of Governor Larry Hogan; Allyn Nickle, representing Comptroller Peter Franchot; Senator Robert Cassilly; Bob Amato on behalf of Senator Wayne Norman; Delegates Mary Ann Lisanti and Susan McComas; State Librarian Irene Padilla; Cindy Mumby, representing Harford County Executive Barry Glassman; Harford County Council President Richard Slutzky and Councilman Curtis Beulah; Havre de Grace Mayor Bill Martin; and APG Federal Credit Union President/CEO Don Lewis.
After the ribbon-cutting ceremony, guests were invited to tour the new library until 5 p.m. The Havre de Grace Library will be open on Thursday, June 16, from 1 to 8 p.m.; on Friday, June 17, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; and will be closed on Saturday, June 18.
Regular library hours begin Monday, June 20. The hours are Mondays and Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Tuesdays and Thursdays from 1 to 8 p.m.; and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Located at 120 North Union Avenue, the nearly 20,000 square-foot Havre de Grace Library was renovated and expanded to meet the growing needs of the community.
Among the highlights are Schooner Cove, an interactive children’s area, for those ages birth to 5 years of age; Lafayette’s Landing, for older children to play, learn and interact with technology; and The Business Center, featuring state-of-the-art technology with multiple access points for laptops, tablets and PCs plus charging stations.
Manns Woodward Studios was the building’s architect. Construction began in fall 2014. During the construction phase, the library moved to a temporary location on Market Street. The cost of constructing the new library was $8.9 million.
“The new Havre de Grace Library is spectacular in terms of the physical building and what it offers,” said Mary Hastler, CEO of Harford County Public Library. “The space is welcoming to children and adults and provides an environment like no other in the area. Schooner Cove, in particular, is like a little bit of Disney World in Harford County.”
Schooner Cove, for children ages birth to 5 and focusing on Havre de Grace’s location by the water, includes a story-time area; a “lagoon” filled with items for its youngest customers such as puzzles, springy rubber flooring and in-floor light boxes for tactile exploration opportunities; and a ranger station for role play, sorting games and puzzles and other interactive features.
Designed by internationally recognized architect Jim Bradberry of James Bradberry Architects and fabricated by Capitol Museum Services, Schooner Cover also features a shipping yard with technology learning spaces where children can interact with magnets, pulleys and other mechanisms to explore math and physics fundamentals in addition to costume play, gear walls and reading areas large enough for a child and caregiver to interact. Schooner Cover was sponsored by APG Federal Credit Union.
Lafayette’s Landing, on the mezzanine-level, provides a Maker Space for older children to play, learn and interact with technology and participate in age-appropriate programming.
The Business Center, located on the second floor of the mezzanine area, in a glass-walled room off the main adult area of the library, features state-of-the-art technology with multiple access points for laptops, tablets and PCs plus charging stations. It is also equipped with a scanner and color printer. High-speed Wi-Fi is available in The Business Center and throughout the building.
The Business Center is geared toward small business owners, entrepreneurs, consultants and research students. For many Havre de Grace Library users, the library is their primary source for computer and high-speed Internet access. The Business Center was sponsored by University of Maryland Upper Chesapeake Health.
Other highlights of the new library include a self-sorting book drop; additional space for quiet study, tutoring, computer training and library programming; and increased space for community meetings and activities.
Upcoming events at the Havre de Grace Library include the kick off of the Summer Reading Challenge on Monday, June 20, from 2 to 5 p.m.; “Young Adventurers Read!” on Saturday, June 25, from noon to 3 p.m.; and a visit by author Rafael Alvarez on Wednesday, June 29, at 6:30 p.m.
The Havre de Grace Library serves approximately 40,000 individuals from the City of Havre de Grace and Aberdeen, Edgewood, Darlington and Churchville.
Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County. The library serves more than 181,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of more than 3.8 million. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading in the community. For more information, visit hcplonline.org.