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Rest in Peace, Coco the Reading Dog

April 24, 2020

The saying goes that a dog is a man’s (and a woman’s!) best friend. That could not be more true than it is here at Peninsula Community Library.

PCL was the first library in the District to have a Reading Therapy Dog. Furry staff members have been a part of our library family consistently since 2006. They have listened to countless children read, have been petted and adored by adults young and old, and have acted as hosts at more programs than I can count.



It is with much sadness that I tell you that one of our dear Reading Dogs, Coco Gardner, passed away suddenly on March 20. Coco was a delightful librarian dog – energetic, intelligent and loving. Only four years old, she had just received her advanced therapy dog certification. Coco’s favorite day of the week was Reading Dog Day with the kids.

Our hearts go out to Coco’s sister, Lani, also a Reading Dog here at PCL, as well as her human parents, Candy and Lee Gardner. The Gardners have asked that Coco be remembered with smiles and hugs.

Candy will be donating framed photos of all our Reading Dogs over the years for our Children’s Area and will include our first Reading Dog, Bear. Coco joins her brothers Ralph and Zeb, also once PCL Reading Dogs, who passed on before her. I am sure that she is wherever they are, listening to the angel dogs read!

Coco, the Reading Therapy Dog at Peninsula Community Library | Jane Boursaw Photo
Coco, the Reading Therapy Dog at Peninsula Community Library | Jane Boursaw Photo

PCL’s Little Free Library – “Take” Only!

Some of you have been taking advantage of the Little Free Library outside of PCL. I am very pleased to say that people have been following the rules. Continue to remember to put on gloves before you open the box or touch any books. Wear a mask or bandana! If you don’t have gloves, put a new plastic bag over your hand. Be sure to take those protective things away with you when you leave. Only one person at a time is allowed at the Little Free Library. Wait in your car if someone is already there.

Last, but most importantly, while these little libraries are usually “take one leave one,” I temporarily declare ours “take” only! Do not return the book! Save it for our book sale way down the road, share it with other members of your immediate household, recycle it if you must!

However, DO NOT RETURN IT TO THE BOX! I will continue to fill the box from our book sale shelves for as long as it seems the rules are being followed and for as long as the books hold out.

Little Free Library at Peninsula Community Library on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo
Little Free Library at Peninsula Community Library on the Old Mission Peninsula | Jane Boursaw Photo

Thanks to the Traverse Area District Library, our WiFi is also up and running 24/7. Feel free to pull into our parking lot and enjoy the internet connection from the comfort of your car! From settings and WiFi connection on your device, choose tadl-patron-wireless.

Need a Puzzle to Work On?

It has come to my realization in our Old Mission community – which includes so many residents of a vulnerable age – that some of you are entirely confined to your homes. A few people have emailed me about the puzzles in PCL’s collection and a wish that you had thought to take a few out before we closed.

My own mother, 91 who lives downstate on her own, pointed out that they are almost impossible to buy right now. When I checked online to send her one or two, I saw that puzzles are either not available for months or of such an outrageous price that no one in their right mind would pay that.

Having said all this, PCL puzzles are not cataloged and have been mostly donated by you, our patrons. Therefore, I have put a bin of those out on the library’s front porch. You are free to take ONE for yourself or to deliver to someone who cannot otherwise get out. I am especially concerned about our older residents who may be alone.

The same rules apply as for the Little Free Library – use gloves, use a mask, one person at a time, and NO RETURNS! I also found a box of sealed playing cards leftover from a long ago library program. I will put those in there as well, same rules. I will continue to stock it until I run out.

PLEASE NOTE THAT WE ARE UNABLE TO ACCEPT ANY DONATIONS AT THIS TIME! Save what you have for down the road when we are on the other side of this! Thank you!

Looking Ahead

I cannot yet give you an open date. While we are glad you miss us – as we do YOU – the Board and I will do whatever it takes to ensure the safety of the public and the staff. Please know that when the time comes, we will let you know what plans we have in place.

In all likelihood, we will open in phases, with no large gatherings or outside use of our meeting space taking place until after Labor Day. This means that no book sale will take place this summer. I am looking at virtual programming for Summer Reading Club, as well as a “drive-in” possibility for a program or two. Be patient with us – we will get back to normal when we are relatively sure that we can keep you safe!

A Note from the Secretary of State

I just received this message from Michigan’s Secretary of State, asking us to share it with all of you:

Relief for some drivers and vehicle owners – Recently, Governor Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order that temporarily extends the expiration of driver’s licenses, state IDs and vehicle registrations in Michigan. The extension goes through June 30, 2020. No late fees will be assessed by the Secretary of State’s Office.

These are strange and unusual times. I am thankful that I live in an era when I can still connect with friends and family through the miracle of modern technology. I have talked to and visited visually with my children and grandchildren, attended meetings via Zoom out in the library world, and have been entertained with movies, concerts and programs. I cannot imagine what it would be like right now in an era before all this.

Saying that, I leave you with a couple of pictures below – a delightful collection of phones donated to PCL by the Estate of Jack and Vi Solomonson, who owned the Peninsula Telephone Company for many years. All were used over a century on the Old Mission Peninsula. What if one of the early ones was your only form of contact? What about the centuries before any telecommunication? I think we are fortunate!

Stay safe and healthy, everyone!

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