News Details

Gloucester County Library Going to the Dogs

(Mullica Hill, NJ) - On February 11, 2010 a new program designed to help children love to read will debut at the Mullica Hill Branch of the Gloucester County Library System (GCLS).   PAWS for reading will allow children to visit the library and read to a dog (or cat) that has been trained to sit and patiently listen to youngsters as they read their favorite books aloud.

"Gloucester County is excited to bring the PAWS for reading program to the kids.  The program can help promote a lot of children's self-confidence and love of reading," said Freeholder Director Stephen M. Sweeney. "When children read to an animal it allows them to have a lot of fun reading without feeling judged or intimidated as they sometimes can in their classrooms or with an adult," explained Sweeney.

Freeholder Giuseppe (Joe) Chila said that PAWS for People has been providing the PAWS for Reading program to libraries and schools since 2006 throughout New Castle County, Delaware, and Cecil County, Maryland.  The program has been featured in several magazines and newspapers in New Castle County and has been the recipient of many grants including Target, Wilmington Flower Market and the Delaware Community Foundation's Fund for Children's Literacy. 

"This program is going to be very popular with our young readers.  Some children might like it because it helps them practice to read aloud and some children also may choose to read to the dog because they may not have a pet of their own and really love animals," said Freeholder Chila.  "Whatever their reason, it is a great way to children who are reluctant readers into the Library and have fun while learning," stated Chila, who serves as Freeholder liaison to GCLS. 

Chila said that five dogs will be at the Mullica Hill Branch of GCLS on February 11 from 6:30 to 7:30 to kick off the program and readers will enjoy an individual one-on-one session that will last approximately 15 minutes.

If your child would like to read to a dog or cat (when available), please contact the Gloucester County Library at (856) 223-6029 to schedule his or her own private time with their favorite canine or feline.  There is no fee for this program.  Readers will enjoy an individual one-on-one session that will last approximately 15 minutes.  Session appointments will be made at the time of registration.  Registration is accepted either by phone at 856-223-6029, or in person at the children's desk at the Mullica Hill library.  Paws for Reading is open to children of all ages, but is geared toward beginning or reluctant readers in early elementary grades.

PAWS is a non-profit volunteer organization currently serving parts of Delaware, Maryland, Pennsylvania and New Jersey.  "Our mission is "&to lovingly provide elders, children and folks with disabilities individualized, therapeutic visits with a loving affectionate pet."  The organization began in February 2005 by Lynne Robinson and is guided by a Board of Directors as well as an Advisory Board, composed of medical and veterinary doctors, University of Delaware consultants, a librarian, a dog-training school owner as well as many other professionals.  PAWS volunteers also visit residents locally in Bright View of Woodbury Lake and Bancroft Neurohealth in Mullica Hill.  For more information on PAWS for People and PAWS for Reading programs or how to volunteer, please visit

PAWS for Reading will be at the library every 2nd and 4th Thursday night between the hours of 6:30 and 7:30 PM.