When you think of health programs in public libraries, you probably think of people. But public health includes the environments in which we live, which includes the animals around us. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has an entire website devoted to Healthy Pets, Healthy People, and this is the topic we will explore in this month’s blog.
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Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many academic libraries were faced with the challenge of supporting academic success while most students were off-campus and taking online classes. Many outreach librarians turned to virtual programming.
Pet Grams were developed as a way to reach out and connect virtually with patrons, no matter their location. The main outcome for Pet Grams is to share kindness and motivation during a stressful time in the semester, especially for students but also for other community members who may also need support.
Animal Advocates is a program for animal-loving kids and teens that began in September 2021. Members meet once a month with the mission to help local shelters and educate the community about animal rights, animal welfare and environmental topics that impact us all. We occasionally go to animal shelters to volunteer for field trips.
There are very few programs that guarantee great attendance, but animal programs are a safe bet for all age groups. Who wouldn’t want to snuggle with kittens, meet rescue dogs or learn about exotic animals? Here are a few of my tried-and-true ideas to incorporate some furry (or slimy, feathery or slithery) friends into your programs.
Every year on Pi Day, March 14, local animal shelter Pet Rescue by Judy brings puppies to our library, and we set up an area in our larger meeting room where teens and adults can play with them. Because it’s Pi Day, we also buy seven or eight pies from the local grocery store.
So we eat pie and play with puppies for a couple of hours. This year, the event lasted from 3:30 to 5 p.m.