Louth Library has piloted a hugely successful initiative to introduce ‘reading dogs’ into the county’s libraries this summer.
Partnering with the charity Therapy Dogs Nationwide, reading dogs are now a regular feature at both children’s and adult session.
Therapy dogs have been visiting Louth Library twice a week during the summer holidays to support the county’s Summer Reading Challenge project, which is open to children of all ages and encourages them to read six books during their holidays.
Karen Waring, manager at Louth Library, said: “Introducing dogs to our sessions creates a welcoming and relaxed atmosphere.
"Some children who refuse to read out loud, will read to a dog because they feel like their being listened to without judgement. It really builds their confidence.”
Reading dogs have also just been introduced to adult sessions. The TED (Talk, Eat, Drink) is a lottery- funded project for the over 50s that encourages social interaction amongst an older demographic and offers information on local services and facilities along with training and educational opportunities.
Karen continued: “Bringing a reading dog to the TED sessions has provided the perfect ice-breaker. It really encourages everyone to chat and interact without feeling awkward or intimidated.”
Sarah Ireland, mother to Liam (7) and Callum (4) added: “The boys love coming down to the library and reading with Gracie the reading dog.
"She is so patient with them and they talk to her as if she were human.
“They love the library and reading but it’s a special treat when Gracie is here.”