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The Learning and Sharing Collection

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HCPL believes in the importance of play and the use of toys to promote early literacy. Parent-child interaction with books and toys is critical for school readiness and early childhood success.

In 1975, HCPL received a federal grant that funded the purchase of books and puppets to be used with the Sharing the Gift volunteer outreach program. The materials were the basis of the Learning and Sharing Collection, which has been open to the public for 40 years.

The Learning and Sharing Collection includes toys, puppets, puzzles, books, and kits designed for children ages birth to five, as well as sets of books for the Sharing the Gift volunteers. Learning and Sharing Collection toys are available at all 11 HCPL branches. Items can be borrowed for seven days with two renewals.

Kits in the Learning and Sharing Collection contain age-appropriate materials selected by librarians to support specific skill development and different stages of early childhood. Use the words “early literacy kit” when searching in the library catalog to find a complete list of kits in the Learning and Sharing Collection.

Click on the links below to view different types of toys in the Learning and Sharing Collection:

Finger PuppetsHand PuppetsGamesMusic Toys
PuzzlesStorytime PalsWooden ToysAnimal Toys
Concept ToysImagination ToysScience ToysBaby Toys
Skill ToysYoung Parenting KitsSkill KitsTheme Kits

Photo of LSC Kit materials Photo of LSC Kit materials Photo of LSC Kit materials Photo of LSC Kit materials Photo of LSC Kit materials Photo of LSC Kit materials Photo of LSC Kit materials Photo of LSC Kit materials


Sharing the Gift

Sharing the Gift, sponsored by HCPL since 1975, is a story time outreach program staffed by community volunteers, using materials supplied by the library’s Learning and Sharing Collection. The theme-based story time programs, prepared by the Sharing the Gift Librarian, include age-appropriate books, fingerplays, action rhymes, songs, and puppets for preschool children ages two to five. Each month from October to May, Sharing the Gift volunteers present story time at licensed day care centers, nursery schools, and preschools throughout Harford County.

Adults interested in volunteering may contact the Sharing the Gift Librarian at the Bel Air Branch (410-638-3151). HCPL children’s services staff train new volunteers every September.

Day care or preschool directors and teachers who would like a Sharing the Gift volunteer to present story time at their centers may contact the Volunteer Specialist at Administration & Support Services (410-273-5600).

Sharing the Gift 2014-2015 story times (pdf)


Sharing the Gift story time photo Sharing the Gift story time photo
Sharing the Gift story time photo Sharing the Gift story time photo