Sign In

Library Therapy Dogs

December 22, 2020

The Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County has hired Jim Young as a community support specialist, a position that will help the library better serve patrons with social service and mental health needs.

“We are pleased to have someone so well-qualified on staff to connect people needing social services with community resources that may best be able to help,” library Executive Director Aimee Fifarek said in a news release. “We recognize that many people in our community are struggling with issues beyond library service expertise, such as homelessness, addictions, depression and more. Mr. Young comes to the library with an abundance of experience and will be available to link our patrons to the type of help they need.”

Young has a master’s degree in social work from Youngstown State University and a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He has been a licensed independent social worker since 2018.

He has worked for Youth Intensive Services as clinical director of residential treatment/therapist; Grace Hospice as a medical social worker — clinical therapist; PsyCare as Integrative Family Systems Treatment therapist; Prime Healthcare as a medical social worker — PRN; and Ohio Department of Job and Family Services as Disabled Veterans’ Outreach Program specialist.

“I have a very diverse background, and my social work experience gave me quite a few contacts in Mahoning County,” Young said. “I thought the library would be a perfect fit for me. I see my principal role as acting as a link between our patrons and the community resources they may not know about.”

Young has two licensed therapy dogs, Katie and Kirby, both Labradors.

“I started researching therapy dogs when I was in grad school at Youngstown State University. I knew the benefits of people having service animals, and I thought it would be unique to provide that type of intense therapy using dogs,” Young said. “It is a relatively new field but is growing in popularity because of the immense benefits.” Patrons who would like to talk with Young can call the library at 330-744-8636 or talk with a librarian, who will connect them.

Register Your Dog

  • Most Recent News

    Former Victoria man’s diabetic alert dog helps him get back to life

    When Luke Hengen’s diabetes worsened in his early twenties, it stripped him of the outdoor activities where the country kid felt at home. Countless wilderness adventures and years of hard-fought football games took a toll on his body, to the point where he could no longer sense when his blood sugar was too high or […]

    Read more

    Students Get Therapy Dog

    When middle school students return to class on Jan. 11, they’ll find a new face at the door: Daisy. Daisy is a therapy dog and the personal pet of Rob Kreger, principal of the Rock L. Butler Middle School. The five-year-old golden retriever is not a school pet or mascot, but rather a working dog […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dogtor

    Last March, Caroline Benzel, a third-year medical student, began to notice the stress and discomfort her nurse friends were feeling from the pressures of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. “[Personal protective equipment] can be really rough on the skin,” Benzel, 31, tells PEOPLE. Benzel and her 3-year-old Rottweiler, Loki (who’s also a therapy dog) hatched a […]

    Read more

    Therapy Dog Pups

    When Stanley the miniature fox terrier’s owner passed away, the little dog started a ‘paw-some’ new role – bringing puppy love to some of the Gold Coast’s oldest residents. After Carinity Cedarbrook Diversional Therapist Julianne Staff adopted Stanley, he began visiting the aged care community at Mudgeeraba as a therapy dog. Therapy dogs help to […]

    Read more

    Puppy Cams

    A nonprofit is providing an unusual form of therapy for those on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic – puppy cams! “You spend five minutes with a puppy and try not to smile,” said registered nurse Robin Lingg Lagrone. Lingg Lagrone says watching little furballs wag their tails and prance on their paws helps […]

    Read more

    Pet Committee

    When Moore County’s school doors were abruptly closed earlier in 2020, two- and four-legged volunteers from the Moore County Citizens’ Pet Responsibility Committee (PRC) were in their 12th year of presenting a six-session Pet Responsibility Education Program for fourth-graders. The PRC quickly shifted gears and placed its program materials online as part of a home […]

    Read more