Pooches, kids love ‘Dog Nights at the Library’

As Mining Journal Staff Writer Jackie Stark shared in a story in Wednesday’s newspaper, the Peter White Public Library has gone to the dogs, at least on Thursday evenings.

And that’s a great thing.

Thursdays are when, in the PWPL children’s section, it’s “Dog Nights at the Library.” From 6 to 7:30 p.m. those nights, children have the chance to sit down to read to a dog. The SuperiorLand Pet Partners club brings in therapy-trained dogs who enjoy having the kids’ attention.

It’s a drop-in program that has many positives.

For parents, it’s an opportunity to encourage their children to read in a special setting outside of the home.

For the dogs, it’s time to be the center of attention, gaining much love and affection from young admirers.

For children who don’t have a pet at home, it’s a chance to interact with dogs who are trained to handle the attention. And even more importantly, the program provides children a way to read out loud without fear of judgment.

“We have had some kids who struggle to read and we have had some kids who are excellent readers who bring chapter books,” said Jeni Kilpela, youth services librarian. “They just really love to read to dogs. We have a lot of variance with that. The dogs, they provide positive feedback for kids and for their parents. Some parents want to sit with them and listen.”

According to one of the dog owners, the pooches love the program.

“I show (English springer spaniels) and once they’re done with the dog show, they need something to do,” Mary Lou Kirkum said. “This breed has a very good temperament. They love people. They love to be out with them and they need a job to do, and this is what they want to do.”

This volunteer program has been growing in popularity and we certainly can see why: We laud PWPL and the SuperiorLand Pet Partners for working together to make reading even more enjoyable for children.

For more information on the program, contact the library’s Youth Services Desk at 226-4323.