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Stress Relief for All

December 27, 2022

The end of the fall term is always a stressful time in my library, as students hustle to get in their final papers and projects on time. Staff is also a bit frazzled by this time of the year, as well. While our public printer on the first floor is the most used on campus, it’s surely showing its age and routinely breaks down at the most inopportune times. By December, everyone on campus is ready for winter break, battling against time to wrap up finals, papers, and projects. 

Earlier this semester, a group of volunteers with Canine Partners for Life brought several dogs in their service training program to campus to offer some socialization opportunities. These dogs currently live with inmates who participate in the training program at two nearby prisons and will go on to receive further training to complete their service dog certification. The volunteers take the dogs out regularly to expose them to real-life situations and scenarios, including them on doctor’s visits, shopping trips, eating at restaurants, and other similar ventures out in the community. When the dogs visited the library, they got to enjoy interacting with new people and places, and also offered some much-appreciated cuddles to the students, and staff as well. It was a win-win for everyone!

Their visit to the library in October was so well attended that it made sense to schedule the group back in December, just before Finals Week. I shared the December visit on social media and through posters on campus, and to my surprise, students started arriving about ten minutes before the dogs were even scheduled to arrive! After planning programs earlier in the term that had not garnered much interest on campus, it was nice to see students in the library who rarely, if ever visit. If dogs can initially get them into the library, maybe the next time they need research help, they will come back for assistance. At any rate, both therapy dog events this semester were successful for all involved and we hope to continue this program next term.

Has your library had success with therapy dogs or other stress relief programs? We also put out puzzles, coloring sheets, squishy animal toys and mini-Rubic cubes, and other creative outlets for students around finals. Sometimes students just need a break. Hopefully, they realize the library is not just a great place to study, but also a place to relax as well.

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