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Reading To Dogs

July 1, 2020

A program is going virtual during a time when kids need reading practice and relief from anxiety and stress.

The Read to Dogs program at the Abington Community Library has been a popular one for some time now, but this summer, with health concerns, it cannot happen in person.

Neither can any of the other usual activities and classes.

“It’s a disappointing summer for me because I know it’s going to be so different, and we’re not going to see those huge crowds of kids coming in and visiting,” Laura Gardoski said.

Children’s librarian Laura Gardoski’s dog Charlie was recently certified as a therapy dog, so she decided to take the library’s Read to Dogs program online.

“I think Charlie is unique because a lot of kids have been seeing him on Facebook, so he’s kind of become an honorary staff member of the library because he was always popping into my storytime videos,” said Gardoski.

Libraries all over northeastern and central Pennsylvania are offering lots of virtual programs, like children’s storytimes, cooking, crafting, and other classes, too.

This Read to Dogs program gives kids the practice they need and some relief from stress and anxiety during a time of so much uncertainty. Parents and kids alike are happy about that.

“There is a huge sense of a calming nature with the dogs like they know you need them to be at that moment. I think even though we’re doing this virtually, it’s something we can get a benefit from. When she did her bedtime stories, he would always see Charlie or hear Charlie in the background, it’s something he would always look forward to,” said Tara Ventre of Scott Township, along with her 5-year old son, Ross.

The kids use GoogleMeet to read to those pups.

Librarians said they want to do what they can to continue to make connections, even if they can’t see everyone in person right now.

“We’re really just trying hard to keep our community connected and keep plugging people into the resources they expect from the library. It just looks a little different,” laughed Gardoski.

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