Teresa Faucette is a Therapy Dogs International volunteer and an experienced dog trainer. She believes dogs provide health and emotional benefits for humans, and she wants to spread those benefits to as many people as she can. Her sheltie, Max, is a disaster stress relief dog who has helped people after the 2011 Alabama tornado outbreak as well as local hospitals.
“There has been so much scientific proof that dogs can help with stressed and troubled people. Max, my dog, participated in a program for CMC where they took the vital signs of people before and after dogs visited – these were repertory and cardiac patients – and found that the dogs made a remarkable difference in blood pressure and things like that.”
Faucette created a program in the library system to help early readers become confident readers. She and other volunteers bring their dogs to the Mint Hill library for Paws to Read every month.
Max and other highly trained dogs will hold the page down for children as they read. Some can read flashcards, and since no one is perfect, children can be more forgiving of themselves when they miss a word because even their four-legged reading partner misses words once in a while. Faucette says the aim of the program, which she created, is to help children feel good about themselves and about reading.
“Reading is so important, and if we can give the child encouragement, that’s what it’s about,” she said. “You want children to always think of the library and books as a fun thing to do. This is a good place. That’s what we try to do. It’s a different atmosphere for the kids. It’s relaxed. If you get a word wrong, oh well, the dog’s not going to say anything.”
Early readers often find themselves frustrated while reading. Reading to dogs allows them to feel free of judgment, and they can take a time-out to pet the dog and try again.
Faucette is a resident of Mint Hill and has been training dogs for 18 years. She and Max offer many other programs for children and adults. At the school level, Max can help teach children about fire safety, nutrition, and, of course, the reading program. For more information about Therapy Dogs International and Faucette’s volunteer program, contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mint Hill library manager, Mark Engelbrecht, called the library’s webpage their “best kept secret.” The website offers information about the library’s catalog, services, classes, and events. Classes and events provide residents of all ages with story times, arts and crafts, computer assistance, and educational support.
“We don’t want it to be a secret,” said Engelbrecht. “We want self sufficiency for people who want to look things up themselves.”
To find a class or event, visit www.cmlibrary.org. Click on Classes/Events from the series of tabs across the top of the homepage. There are a number of ways to find an event. The calendar allows for a search on a specific date, and searches can be made by event type, location, and age range.
Upcoming technology classes include Internet Basics, PowerPoint Basics, and Excel Basics. Classes are open to any residents, but homeschooled children and adults reentering the workforce often attend these. Since the economic downturn, many adults are turning to the library for support.
“A lot of what we help people with on a day-to-day basis is job search related,” said Engelbrect.
An upcoming class designed specifically for teens is Intro to Stop-Motion Photography. Teens ages 12 to 18 are invited to register to create their own stop-motion animation using ReadyANIMATOR equipement. The class is September 19 at 4:30 pm, and registration begins September 5.
The library offers numerous afterschool events for elementary school students. Children can create a collage with local artist, Romare Bearden, learn about Johnny Appleseed with author Brooke Kramb, learn about historical periods in the American Girl Book Club, discover electricity in Let’s Get Charged Up, and celebrate the author of Curious George.
A popular reoccurring event is Paws for Reading, held the second and fourth Saturday of every month. Trained therapy dogs come to the library to sit with early readers while they read aloud.
“It helps encourage a new reader to get comfortable reading out loud. They’re not getting corrected, they’re not getting judged. It’s just way for children to get comfortable reading,” said Engelbrecht.
Babies, toddlers, and pre-school children are invited to attend weekly morning storytelling.
“I’m glad that we’re able to offer as much as we are, considering we’re still half the staff that we were two or three years ago,” said Engelbrecht. “We offer a great deal of classes and events for our community. I know the community appreciates us, and I appreciate their support.”
Children gathered at the library last Thursday to learn about nocturnal animals. Heather Reid from Reedy Creek Nature Center taught the young naturalists about the barred owl’s sight, the skunk’s defense mechanism, the bat’s echolocation, and the necessity of beetles and millipedes for a forest’s ecosystem. The children had the opportunity to ask questions and touch pelts, feathers, scales, and bugs. Popcorn, the corn snake, was popular among the eager learners. The Reedy Creek Nature Center provides these specimens and more at no cost. For more information call 704-432-6459. The library will host another natural program this summer. The Nature Lady’s interactive ornithological program will be July 19. For more information about library programs call 704-416-5200.
Carol Hull presented the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Library Citizens Committee report to the Board of Commissioners last Thursday. She is a member of the committee, a team of citizens with professional experience in real estate, process improvements, information technology, and Mecklenburg County government.
The goal of this committee was “to review the functions and utilization of the main library, consider the feasibility of consolidating, downsizing, or relocating the functions of the main library” to another site. The committee met monthly from November 2011 to February 2012 to investigate library functions and ways to save money. Continue reading
New York Times Bestselling author Carrie Ryan (The Forest of Hands and Teeth) will present a 45-minute writing workshop about her books and the writing process, Tuesday, April 17, at 5 pm at the Mint Hill Library. Several attendees will win a copy of one of Ryan’s books. She’ll be glad to autograph any copies presented to her at the end of the program. Call 704-416-5200 to register or online at www.cmlibrary.org.