Monday, 18 April 2011

The library's gone to the dogs... or the other way around?

At the Yale Law Library circulation desk, students have been signing up this week to check out Monty, a 'certified library therapy dog,' for 30-minute sessions of unconditional, stress-busting puppy love.
Ok. I love libraries and all, and I love the idea of libraries trying out new things and exploring new roles but this seems to be pushing the boundaries a little bit.

We are about providing access to information, people! (And entertaining media when we include public and school libraries.) Therapy dogs are a great idea. I'm aware of the literature supporting their effectiveness. And academic environments certainly need stress reducers. But I'm afraid that providing resources like this will dilute our usefulness and our authority as research and academic activity support. "I'm sorry, Doctor Brown, I can't complete a literature search for you to support your grant-producing and possibly life-saving research: I've got to go take Marty, the library's golden retriever, out for walkies. Can you hand me that plastic bag?"

What do you think? Is it making libraries more irreplaceable? Is it an appropriate connection to our role in society?

[ Inspired by "Checking Out Monty: Yale Law Students Can Reduce Stress With Therapy Dog" from abc NEWS ]

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