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Librarian of the Month: Liz Molinari

This month’s featured Mutt-i-grees librarian is Liz Molinari, Children's Services Librarian at West Babylon Public Library in West Babylon, NY.

Liz was one of the first librarians to join the Mutt-i-grees Movement and she has been incorporating Mutt-i-grees into West Babylon Public Library’s children’s programming since the spring of 2013. She is an avid animal lover and an advocate for rescuing and adoption, so getting the chance to be able to incorporate those aspects into her library’s collection and programming makes her feel great. According to Liz, patrons in her community have responded very positively to Mutt-i-grees programming. She says they are curious to know more about Mutt-i-grees and frequently ask what other activities the library offers that incorporate Mutt-i-grees at the library.

When asked what advice she’d give other libraries that might be interested in implementing Mutt-i-grees, she says, “Start small and get a feel for the program by reading about it and looking to see what other libraries are doing. Build ideas by brainstorming with your colleagues and then implement one idea at a time so you can see how the community responds. Have fun with it and be creative!”

Liz describes some of WBPL’s current and upcoming Mutt-i-grees programs below:

Paws for Reading:
Every other month, we run our 'Paws for Reading' program. This is a two hour program where children in grades K-5 come in and read to our therapy dogs. Each child gets a ten minute session to read a book of their choice. Parents are also involved and help their children read to the dogs (this gives the parents some dog cuddle time!). This is one of our most popular programs. We have a few therapy dogs that we rotate and we recently started having two of them come to a class. This helps allows us to open our registration to more children.

WBPL's Pet Wall of Fame:
Patrons and staff members bring in pictures of their pets to be showcased on the wall. Everyone loves coming in to see all their pets’ faces on the board.

Buddy! the Mutt-i-grees Puppet:
Patrons may visit the children’s room to check out a puppet kit. The kit contains Buddy, the plush hand puppet, puppet crafts, coloring/activity sheets, and a journal. Kids who check Buddy out can draw a picture of Buddy or write notes about the things they did with Buddy during his visit. Buddy sometimes sits with me at the Children's Services Reference Desk so he can gain more attention in the hopes kids will check the kit out.

Mutt-i-grees Reading Station:
We have a selection of non-fiction / fiction books on display across two tables that are designated for Mutt-i-grees reading only. Book topics include service dogs, war dogs, therapy dogs, poetry books about dogs, etc. There are also informational fliers and bookmarks about Mutt-i-grees in the Library.

Mutt-i-grees Bookmarks:
Kids can color and decorate the Mutt-i-grees bookmark template for us to hang around in our room for display.

Pet Adoption Fair:
This community event will be held on Saturday, June 14, 2014. Our local Town of Babylon Animal shelter is attending, as well as representatives from North Shore Animal League America. The West Babylon PetSmart branch will also be in attendance. They will bring animals (mostly cats) that they have up for adoption, as well as some of the services they provide. We also hope to have one of the radio stations come down to help spread the word of our event.

Mutt-i-grees Pack Party
This year, WBPL will be also hosting a Mutt-i-grees Pack Party on Saturday, May 3, from 1-3 PM in the Children's Room. It will be a Scooby-Doo themed event, with tons of activities planned, including DIY Dogs Craft Corner, Lego Building Station, movies, snacks, and visits from therapy dogs.

Keep up the great work, Liz!