Harford County Public Library honors former board member with art

A late former board member and lifelong resident of the county was honored posthumously Thursday at the Joppa library branch by members of the library board of trustees and other guests.

Edward Kimmel, who died of a sudden illness in 2012, served as a trustee on the library board for nine years and secretary for two, said Mary Hastler, director of the Harford County Public Library.

In his application for the Board of Trustees, Kimmel wrote he saw the future of libraries as "promoting and providing the availability for every Harford County resident to be able to read books of their choice."

Kimmel worked as chief of facilities for the division of water and sewer for Harford County government. After he died, his co-workers began raising money to do something in his honor.

The paintings and a small plaque were placed near the children's section of the library.

His co-workers raised $200 and the library and foundation contributed another $800 to buy and dedicate two giclee, signed, limited edition prints created by Wendell Minor for children illustrations, Hastler said.

According to Hastler, the art dedication was held at Kimmel's home library, where he often took his grandchildren to borrow books and read.

New HdG branch moves forward

Plans for the new, updated Havre de Grace branch are "moving along great," Hastler said during a library board meeting following the art dedication ceremony.

The modern, maritime-themed branch, paying homage to the Susquehanna River, will have twice the space of the old branch plus new technology for an interactive learning environment.

Hastler said the design team has been meeting regularly and anticipates having 30 percent of the construction documents completed by the end of the month. She said the bid will be compete by May 15.

The Library Foundation building campaign has raised more than $75,000 of the $200,000 for the new facility, Hastler said.

Hastler said she will be meeting with the design architects to discuss the early-literacy area for the new branch.

Upgrades to Aberdeen branch

The Aberdeen branch is getting a face lift.

Hastler said the library system is working to renovate the lobby area of the branch and install new carpet and comfortable seating in portions of the library.

Other upgrades will include a consolidated customer service desk and redesigned staff work areas.

Bel Air teen room renovated

Teens are invited for to the celebration of the newly renovated teen room at the Bel Air library branch on Feb. 12.

"The Bel Air teen room is the first teen room we put in Harford County 18 years ago," Hastler said.

The teen room will be equipped with the latest tech gadgets, including flat screens and "cool new furniture," Hastler said.

Black History Month celebration

Omega Psi Phi Fraternity Inc. is hosting its eighth annual book drive at the "centrally located" Bel Air library, Hastler said.

The Black History Month celebratory book drive, held on Feb. 1 from 10 a.m. to noon, will feature a discussion by "Book, Mind, Spirit: The Awakening" author James Hackley.

"The fraternity is really good, they always donate tons of books," Hastler said.

Downloads up in December

Digital download borrowing of books and movies was up in December, Hastler said, which is traditionally a slow library month.

"We saw a huge increase in our digital downloads in December," Hastler said.

Traditionally with the holidays, fewer people are visiting our branches or downloading anything digitally, Hastler said. But, she said she thinks the extremely cold weather this year left more people at home with access to Internet connections, allowing them to download more content.

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