Man’s best friend is doing double duty at Wilton Library, helping students prepping for midterms at the library relax with a little pet therapy. According to Janet Crystal, marketing communications manager for the Library, the therapy dogs were brought in yesterday and will be at the Library again today, Wednesday, Jan. 20, 12:30-3:30 p.m..
“You can’t help but smile at these lovely, beautiful, gentle dogs,” raves Crystal, who said the effect the canines had on the human teens was remarkable. “They came over and immediately got down with the dogs, on their knees and just interacted with them. The dogs are so gentle. One dog just laid out there like, ‘Just pet me.’ It was all she was asking for, ‘Just pet me,’” Crystal laughs.
One of the library staffers, Anne Brosko, had heard of a similar effort on college campuses to aide students there during stressful exam periods. “She knew about our relationship with ROAR [Ridgefield Operation for Animal Rescue] because we do the Tales to Tails [reading to dogs program] once a month with children. They contacted ROAR and it came to pass,” Crystal says.
If stress relief during a grueling test prep time was the goal, the dog visits certainly seemed to help the kids.
“It just lights up their faces, and in a stressful time like exam time, and with the bitter cold and the wind, and everything else, why not bring a little sunshine in,”says Crystal.
The dogs are mostly positioned near the Innovation Station, at the ‘crossroad’ intersection between Reference and the Teen Services Room. “But Carly, one of the dogs who was here this afternoon, did a nice walk-through the library, so the kids who were studying at the carrels, they got a chance too to take a moment and pet the dogs.”
The Library has made a concerted effort to help Wilton’s high school students during exam time, not only with the dog visits, but also by extending their hours of operation. Tonight and Thursday night, the Library will stay open one hour later, until 9 p.m., for students to be able to use as much time there as possible. (The Children’s Library will close at the normal time of 8 p.m..)
In addition, the Library has reserved a room on the second floor in the afternoon for quiet group or individual study to provide additional space. “Right now, it’s pretty much packed,” Crystal says.
Wilton’s students have really been turning to the Library as a reliable resource.
“They use it in good ways. They take that break right after exams, then bring food in and they meet, as a group, they come with friends or individually, they study quietly at their tables, getting stuff done. The teen room is packed, we’ve got kids in the upstairs President’s Room, the whole Reference area, the tables are all taken. They are all over this library, which is great—we love to see that,” she says.