Harford County Public Library
Mary L. Hastler
A six-year renovation project to enhance the Bel Air Library’s Children’s Department had to provide community services that foster early learning and creative content collaboration, while helping close the digital divide, according to Mary L. Hastler, CEO at Harford County Public Library.
Opened in September 2016, children enter the Department through a NatureMaker Steel Art tree, and encounter access to 3D technology, augmented reality, engineering and design. A town square provides children interactive learning activities, while a baby garden venue nurtures early brain development using age-appropriate books and toys, Hastler said.
Elementary and middle-school aged children have been attracted to many of the advanced technologies the library has on offer, and it’s common to see parents spending hours with the children in the area. “It is always exciting and challenging to bring new and innovative programs and services to our customers,” Hastler said.
This fall, the library will complete an 18-month study of its technological products, and following a careful evaluation of the results, the organization plans on improving its current offerings, the CEO said.
Hastler began her library career at the Bel Air Library in the Children’s Department, and has served as the Associate Director of the Harford County Public Library and the Associate Director for Support Services at Baltimore County Public Library. Her mentoring efforts include the Harford County Chamber of Commerce’s program, where she worked closely with young professionals to develop their resumes for a career in the nonprofit sector.