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Librarian of the Month: Linda Pannuto

This month’s featured librarian is Linda Pannuto, youth librarian at Orion Township Public Library in Lake Orion, MI.

"Kids are naturally generous, warm, caring, and creative and they love dogs.Mutt-i-grees® is a natural [fit]! I like the flexibility and variety of programs. It is also a great way to establish connections within your local community. Mutt-i-grees® can be implemented in stages; it includes many low-cost and easy programs to implement before taking on some of the larger project ideas. I love watching kids grow through listening to stories and using their creativity to make something that will make a difference. Mutt-i-grees® combines two of my loves – dogs and volunteering."

Linda Pannuto
Orion Township Public Library
Lake Orion, MI

Linda Pannuto, youth librarian at Orion Township Public Library in Lake Orion, MI, introduced Mutt-i-grees® to her community during a storytime last winter. She read Stay: The True Story of Ten Dogs by Michael Munteau, which is a true story of circus performer Luciano Anastasini who adopted and trained 10 dogs to create a new act. Luciano spent lots of time with the dogs observing what others saw as undesirable traits and turning them into talents for his show. Linda talked about the differences between purebred and mixed-breed dogs and the children shared stories of dogs they knew. Everyone had a great time making sock puppets from “stray” socks. They learned how something that might be perceived as unwanted could be transformed into something cute and loveable!

In February, a local artist and creator of “Painting a Dog a Day, “ Kim Santini, taught children to draw the heads of the dogs, asking them to focus on the dogs eyes and how the face of a dog can “talk” to you. Kim uses proceeds from her artwork sales to support no-kill animal shelters.

Maggie, a certified reading therapy dog, visits the library often so that kids who are learning to read can practice their skills in a warm and non-judgmental atmosphere. Maggie has been coming for nearly two years and the enthusiasm of their patrons for her visits was part of the library’s inspiration to join the Mutt-i-grees® Movement.

This summer, Rick Mares and his dog, Gizmo, visited the library to talk about the Leader Dog program. A neighboring community has a nationally-recognized school, Leader Dogs for the Blind, where they train dogs to be partners with people who have limited vision. The library also hosted a Pet Parade and families were able to show off their furry friends.

Linda is collaborating with Oakland County Animal Control and is working with the volunteer coordinator to create programming around the needs of the shelter. This fall, she is planning to make fleece blankets and braided fleece chew toys for Christmas delivery and is hoping that parents will be able to make field trips to the shelter to hand deliver the blankets and toys. The families will be able to have a tour of the shelter as well.

Congratulations to Linda and keep up the great work!