The history of the library’s pet show


Summer has been so much fun at the library! I can’t believe it is almost over and we are talking about heading back to school. Our End of Summer Party was held on July 30. We held our 62nd Annual Pet Show, ate ice cream and had a wonderful time. All of the pets were given first place ribbons and had their pictures taken. The Pet Show is the best day of the whole summer!

The Pet Show is an event that has taken place at the library for 62 years. As I look through the library scrapbooks, I see many familiar names and pictures. One thing continues to remain the same, everyone is having fun bringing their pets to the library. The Pet Show originally took place on the Central School’s prairie. First place ribbons were given for all sorts of categories including the floppiest ears, pinkest tongue and the prettiest toenails.

The idea was brought to the library by Mrs. Helen Larson. Helen was the children’s librarian at the library. Mrs. Larson loved animals and always encouraged patrons to talk about their pets when visiting the library. She wanted everyone to feel welcome and be able to bring their pets to a familiar place. Over the years we have seen a variety of pets including the usual cats, dogs, lightning bugs, hedgehog, horses, calves, ferrets, chicken’s, fish, lizards, snakes and turtles.  Mrs. Larson organized her first Pet Show in 1960.

At the Pet Show we have many different categories of animals. We have categories for dogs, cats, other live pets, stuffed pets and pictures of your pet. Everyone is welcome to come and enjoy an afternoon of fun on the back lawn of the library. If it rains we have it inside but no live pets are allowed, only stuffed pets or pictures. 

The Pet Show is a great way to promote community involvement at the library. Our library has a great community standing behind it.  “The library of the 21st century is a community workshop, a hub filled with the tools of the knowledge economy.” -Brian Resnick (https://www.pinterest.com/pin/196117758749347669/) Throughout the years, we have had many community organizations partner with us to create a fabulous Pet Show.  The library staff and board help to make this event a success. 

As summer reading comes to an end, don’t forget about your public library. Plans are underway for fall programming and we are excited to see what this fall has to offer. Keep an eye on our Facebook page for updates. We promote reading all year and look forward to seeing our patrons. Remember to keep reading and encourage your family to read to your pets. “The benefits of reading to animals isn't just for the children. Animals are also helped from the attention they receive. It gives kids a sense of purpose when they sense the animals are benefiting from their kindness and attention through the act of reading.” (https://www.scholastic.com/parents/books-and-reading/raise-a-reader-blog/4-ways-reading-aloud-to-animals-can-help-build-your-childs.html) See you at the Library!

Sarah Flanagan is the director of the Flagg-Rochelle Public Library.

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