Library summer reading sponsors and staff gather for festivities at the Abingdon library. (June 30, 2013)

More than 12,000 babies, children and teens are already reading this summer as part of the Harford County Public Library Summer Reading Program, Dig Into Reading.

Registration at all 11 library branches began June 10 and followed with a day of kick-off activities at the Abingdon library on June 17 that included guest appearances by Tales, the library mascot, the "Eat mor chikin" Chick-fil-A cow and Celebree's Squiggles. Along with the program sponsors greeting and talking with families, children were entertained by Jack the Conductor with sing-a-long songs and activities.

Sponsors of this year's program include HarCo Federal Credit Union, Rosedale Federal Savings & Loan Association, Chick-fil-A, Morris Mechanic Foundation, Aberdeen Rotary, Darlington Friends of HCPL, Berardino Family Trust, Advanced Eye Care, The Aegis, APGFCU, Huntington Learning Centers, Celebree Learning Centers, Growing Smiles Pediatric Dentistry, Huether-McClelland Foundation and Wegmans.

"It has been another year of stellar support from the community for Harford County Public Library's summer reading program," Library Foundation Director Amber Shrodes said. "Many sponsors return year after year, plus each year we have new organizations join us. Our community is so supportive of the library and the services it provides to our residents."

Children and teens can sign up for the Summer Reading program at any library branch. The Read To Me program is for the youngest readers birth through pre-school, and they are encouraged to listen to 25 books; elementary school participants can Dig Into Reading and read 10 books; middle school and high school teens can participate in Beneath the Surface and read three books. Children birth through elementary school receive a book when they complete the program; middle school students can select a book or journal and high school students will receive a Chick-fil-A gift card when they complete their books. Incentives are while supplies last.

All elementary and middle school summer reading completers will have the chance to win tickets to see the Orioles and one lucky winner will get to go on the field for the pre-game ceremony at Camden Yard's summer reading night on Aug. 19. The contest is open to elementary and middle school readers who complete the program and fill out an entry form for the raffle by Monday, Aug. 5.

Throughout the summer the library will have programs and fun for everyone including Critter Caravans, Extreme Balloon Man and FutureMakers Electrical Awesomeness. Mad Science programs later this summer include Fire and Ice and Spin, Boom, Pop! Also, Mike Magician Mike Rose will entertain with his sleight of hand and Val Smalkin & Silly Goose will present Look! Hot Diggity Books!

The Harford County Public Library Summer Reading Program runs through Aug. 17. Visit http://www.hcplonline.org or pick up a Headlines & Happenings Newsletter at any of the library's 11 branches for more information on programs and other events.

Harford County Public Library operates 11 branches located throughout Harford County. The library serves more than 175,000 registered borrowers of all ages and has an annual circulation of 4.5 million. Harford County Public Library is committed to connecting people with information and promoting the love of reading within the community.