The Toledo Public Library is excited to announce the debut of Pages With Piper and Friends, a dynamic reading program featuring Piper, our beloved library dog who has been coming to story time for the past several years. Piper is a black Labrador Retriever certified through Oregon Coast Therapy Animals. Pages With Piper and Friends is a brand new program that pairs Piper with local young readers. The monthly program, which launched in January, is conducted at Toledo Elementary School’s 21st Century Community Learning Center’s after school program. The Library brings the books, and the students get a 15 minute window to sit and read with Piper. Piper is accompanied by her handler, Lynn Alexanderson, during the session. Dogs are ideal reading companions because they listen attentively, do not judge, laugh or criticize, and allow children to proceed at their own pace. Plus, reading to a dog is fun! Piper and Lynn stay for an hour, allowing time for four readers. Every student in the program will get a turn by the end of the year.
Students in the J.O.Y. club of Toledo Jr/Sr High have been a part of the program as well. The Job Opportunities for Youth club (J.O.Y.) run by Sheri Adams and Debbie Haverland meets to teach youth job skills. Denyse Marsh, Children’s Library Specialist met with the group and brainstormed how to advertise and market Pages With Piper and Friends. Students in the club generated slogans, posters, and many great media related ideas for the program.
Toledo Public Library is grateful to the many individuals and groups that contributed to the successful launch of this program. Thanks to Jutta Pearce, an Americorps VISTA serving at Lincoln County School District as the Community Connections Coordinator for being our school district liaison. Thanks to Principal Paul Tucker and Vice Principal Liz Postlewait for graciously allowing the program to be conducted at Toledo Elementary School. Finally, special thanks to Daymond Sewell, site coordinator for the LCSD after school program at Toledo Elementary for his enthusiastic support. Pages With Piper and Friends provides an outstanding enrichment opportunity, and the Toledo Public Library is thrilled it is up and running!