Pop Goes the Library

Using Pop Culture to Make Libraries Better.

by Sophie Brookover, Liz Burns, Melissa Rabey, Susan Quinn, John Klima, Carlie Webber, Karen Corday, and Eli Neiburger. We're librarians. We're pop culture mavens. We're Pop Culture Librarians.


Every Dog Has Its Day

I was driving to Northern New Jersey on the New Jersey Turnpike on Friday afternoon when I spied a nicely polished white van with the words “Show Dogs” printed on the side and an out-of-state license plate that spelled “Dogs.” It was then that I had an “Aha!” moment. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it is that time of year when sport and high-society meet at Madison Square Garden in New York City for the 131st Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show, which will be presented on the USA Network on Monday, February 12 and Tuesday, February 13 at 8PM Eastern Time.

Information on the website states that the Westminster Kennel Club Dog Show was founded in 1877 and “is America's oldest organization dedicated to the sport of purebred dogs.” The Westminster Kennel Club's charity, Angel on a Leash, supports the Therapy Dog program at the Morgan Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.

Therapy Dogs have been used in libraries to give children the confidence to read. Dogs are always loving and non-judgmental and don’t care if a word is mispronounced.

And if you need more dog sports or football action be sure to check out those football playing puppies on Animal Planet's Puppy Bowl III. Is this the cutest thing ever or what!

One of my favorite games on the Web featuring dogs is gone2thedogs.com "What Dog Are You?" (Under "Games" on the left-hand navigation). Answer a few questions and it will tell you what breed of dog you would be... if you were a dog. I am a “Border Collie.”

As a librarian, people often assume that I am a cat person. And I am. I own (or rather am owned) by two cats, both rescues from an animal shelter. But I am more than a cat person. I am an animal person. I grew up in a family surrounded by pets, which included several cats, dogs, fish, birds and rabbits. Most were rescues or adopted from animal shelters. I love all animals, including dogs. However, my apartment lease and work schedule just do not allow me to have a dog at this time in my life.

But today’s post is going to be about the dogs in my life.

My Dad’s black Labrador Retriever, “D." used to sleep under my crib when I was a baby and would alert my babysitting Grandmother (who had a profound hearing loss) when I cried. “D.” wasn’t trained to do this, he just did it. And once, when I was learning to walk, I grabbed “D.’s” tail to pull myself up. As the story goes, “D.” didn’t snarl or bite--he just stayed calm until my parents got to me and rescued him.

Our next dog was a rescue. “S.” was on his way to the animal shelter in a cardboard box of puppies, until rescued by my Dad. “S.” was tri-colored with a silky coat and a beautiful plumed tail that was his pride and joy. If you tried to touch his tail “S.” would growl. So we kids just never touched his tail. “S.” used to herd us by nipping at our ankles to keep us in line and on our way. “S.” looked like a cross between a Border Collie and a Beagle. “S.” had the angularity and ability of a herding dog, and the nose, short legs, bay and bark of a hound. His howl was unearthly, especially if he spied a raccoon, which was often at night and on the few times my parents went out for dinner and left us at home with a babysitter. My Dad, who is good at telling tales, christened “S.” a “Bengalese Boar Hunting Terrier” which was an embellished title and pedigree for “Mutt.”

My next dog, and a companion for "S.", was an American Kennel Club registered German Shepherd Dog. "C." was beautiful and brainy. She used to ride around with me in the backseat of my car. "C" loved the car. As soon as she heard the word “Car” she would get excited. “Let’s Go!” she would woof. So, we started to spell “C-A-R.” "C." learned to spell. As I said, German Shepherd’s are “S-M-A-R-T.”

The latest dog in my life is a Golden Retriever. “G.” is a dog that loves the outdoors and water and has the biggest, softest, brown eyes I have ever seen in either human or animal.

Some of my favorite books that feature dogs and/or animals are: “Lassie Come Home” by Eric Knight, “The Golden Compass” by Philip Pullman and “My Family and Other Animals” by Gerald Durrell.

So, what are your favorite books that feature dogs/and or animals?


  • At 2:47 PM, Blogger Kathy said…

    why is it that people assume librarians are cat people? I am a school librarian and HATE cats - I do have 2 dogs (an ancient yellow lab and my 10 year old son has a 1 year old Yorkie). I would love to know how the librarian/at connection came about.

  • At 4:13 PM, Blogger Kyle J. said…

    Where the Red Fern Grows is my dog story of choice. Made me cry (in 6th grade) like I had lost my parents or something.

  • At 6:07 PM, Blogger Jill said…

    My favorite dog (and cat) book is Connie Willis' To Say Nothing of the Dog. It's a time travel comedy mystery in which the future of the space-time continuum might very well be determined by a cat...and a dog...

    The main dog in my life, the who-knows-what-but-probably-part-collie T., knows the word P-A-R-K and is learning to spell it, too. We're starting to fingerspell it now, since he hasn't yet learned American Sign Language!


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