BELCAMP — Nearly 15,000 children and teens participated in Harford County Public Library’s Summer Reading Challenge, “A Universe of Stories,” held from June 17 through Aug. 31. They read 106,413 books, which equates to more than 15 miles of books, which if laid out end to end would stretch the distance between the Bel Air Library and the Whiteford Library.

Three schools — Patterson Mill High School, Fallston Middle School and Fountain Green Elementary School — received recognition as the high school, middle school and elementary school with the most participants. The schools were honored with a trophy presentation at Harford County Public Library’s board of trustees meeting Sept. 19.

To participate, children from birth through pre-K read or listened to 25 books. Those entering kindergarten through fifth grade read 10 books. Middle and high school students read three books. When registering, each participant received a tote bag, a reading log and coupon offers from sponsors. Upon completion, participants received a completion gift, certificate and voucher for an Aberdeen IronBirds game.

“This year’s Summer Reading Challenge participants found out how reading can take them to a brand new universe through books,” said Mary Hastler, CEO of Harford County Public Library. “We hosted a lot of STEM and STREAM events which provided opportunities for participants to learn about topics as varied as outer space and aliens to horses and wildlife. In addition, we are very grateful for the support of our many local businesses who made this year’s Summer Reading Challenge possible.”

Sponsors of the Summer Reading Challenge included the Aberdeen IronBirds, Harford County Public Library Foundation, Bel Air Friends of Harford County Public Library, Klein’s ShopRite, Rosedale Federal Savings & Loan, Harford Day School, HAR-CO Credit Union, Maryland 529, Aberdeen Rotary Club, Wegmans, APG Federal Credit Union, The John Carroll School, M&T Bank, Berardino Family Trust, Darlington Friends of HCPL and the Huether-McClelland Foundation.

Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County. More than 1.6 million visitors use library services and resources each year. In 2018, Harford County Public Library was named one of America’s Star Libraries for the eighth time by Library Journal. This year, Harford County Public Library received the Maryland Library Association’s first Excellence in Marketing Award. For more information, visit HCPL online.org.

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