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National Pilot 'Mutt-i-grees in the Library' Program Launches at Middle Country Public Library

Programming Is the First of Its Kind in the Country

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Media & Communications Department
Phone: (516) 883-7900, Ext. 482
Mobile: (516) 840-0066
Email: press@animalleague.org

PORT WASHINGTON, NY (March 19, 2013) – Middle Country Public Library (MCPL) has recently launched “Mutt-i-grees in the Library” at its state-of-the-art facility in Centereach, N.Y. This initiative represents the first time that the adaptation of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum is being implemented in a library environment. Mutt-i-grees in the Library is an exciting initiative that builds on children’s affinity for animals and highlights the unique characteristics and desirability of shelter dogs, also known as Mutt-i-grees.

Mutt-i-grees in the Library is an extension of the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, which was developed by the Yale University School of the 21st Century in collaboration with North Shore Animal League America’s Pet Savers Foundation and funded by the Cesar Millan Foundation. The Curriculum – already reaching over one million students in pre-K through grade 12 – aims to enhance children’s self- and social awareness, relationship skills and ability to make ethical decisions that benefit people, animals and the environment. Bringing Mutt-i-grees programming to public libraries will provide another venue for highlighting local animal shelters and homeless pets awaiting adoption, as well as teaching children to care.

Mutt-i-grees in the Library, developed in partnership with MCPL, provides librarians with plans, strategies and materials to draw attention to shelter pets and actively engage children and teens in activities, crafts and books about dogs. MCPL was selected as the national pilot site because of its expertise in child and family programming – it serves as a hub for community activities and is the founding member of the Family Place Libraries network, regularly providing training and technical assistance to librarians. According to MCPL Director Sandy Feinberg, “Middle Country is looking forward to implementing this exciting, family-centered service in partnership with Mutt-i-grees’ staff. Children of all ages will thoroughly enjoy coming to the library to learn about and interact with dogs as well as other animals while focusing on saving pets and providing good homes for them.”

As part of the Mutt-i-grees in the Library initiative, Middle Country Public Library is establishing a Mutt-i-grees book collection, labeled with Mutt-i-grees stickers, featuring books and resources that highlight dogs. MCPL is also currently offering “K9 Reading” times with therapy dogs. In addition, Mutt-i-grees in the Library will feature special one-hour programs and events. Libraries implementing the program may select from a range of additional activities and ideas, including the following:

  • Circulate the Mutt-i-gree Puppet Kit.
  • Designate a Mutt-i-grees reading area.
  • Invite guest speakers from local shelters, rescue groups and therapy dog organizations to present to children and families.
  • Contests, clubs and special events.
  • Hands-on activities involving crafts, story times, yoga, research and service-learning for children and teens.
  • Words to take home and prompts to encourage family involvement beyond the library program.

Research scientist Dr. Matia Finn-Stevenson, who is associate director of the Edward Zigler Center in Child Development, social policy director of the School of the 21st Century and creator of the curriculum, acknowledges that the participation of MCPL as a National Pilot Site is an exceptional opportunity to reach children and families. “We have a dual goal with the Mutt-i-grees in the Library initiative,” said Finn-Stevenson, “to promote awareness of Mutt-i-grees – shelter pets – as well as underscore the importance of social and emotional skills that are essential in children’s development and education. Middle Country Public Library, which serves as the hub of its community and is a place where parents, children and others visit regularly, is a great place to begin.”

Librarians interested in the Mutt-i-grees in the Library programming may contact Kay Hammerson at 516-459-6628 or kay.hammerson@muttigrees.org or Tracy Delgado-LaStella, coordinator of youth services at Middle Country Public Library, at 631-585-9393, ext. 220 or Delgado-lastella@mcpl.lib.ny.us.

To learn more about Mutt-i-grees in the Library or the Mutt-i-grees Curriculum, visit www.education.muttigrees.org.

ABOUT THE MUTT-I-GREES CURRICULUM
The Mutt-i-grees Curriculum is an innovative program that builds on the affinity between children and animals, providing a unique context to teach compassion, empathy and social responsibility. Developed by the Yale School of the 21st Century in collaboration with North Shore Animal League America, and funded by the Cesar Millan Foundation, the Curriculum highlights the unique characteristics and desirability of shelter dogs, known as Mutt-i-grees. To learn more, visit www.education.muttigrees.org.

ABOUT MIDDLE COUNTRY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Middle Country Public Library is the largest and busiest public library on Long Island (NY) serving the Selden and Centereach areas as well as portions of Lake Grove and Coram. A leader in building community coalitions and networks, Middle Country Library has been recognized at the local, state and national level for its development of innovative services for families, children and adults, as well as collaborative partnerships with businesses and the health and human service community. Family Place Libraries™: Building Foundations for Early Learning is a regional and national initiative founded by MCPL staff to implement family-centered services in the public library setting.

ABOUT NORTH SHORE ANIMAL LEAGUE AMERICA
North Shore Animal League America - Home of the Mutt-i-gree® - headquartered in Port Washington, NY, is the largest no-kill animal rescue and adoption organization in the world. The Animal League reaches across the country to rescue, nurture and adopt 20,000 pets into happy and loving homes each year. Over the past decade, the Animal League saved over 200,000 lives and has saved 1,000,000 animals since its inception. “Like” us at www.Facebook.com/TheAnimalLeague, follow us at www.Twitter.com/AnimalLeague. To learn more about animal rescue and welfare, visit www.AnimalLeague.org.

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