April 02, 2011

It's supposed to be dog-eared

Alloway Library Student Assistant Danielle Smith spotted this item recently and wondered what kind of animal we should get for stressed TWU students:
Yale University Law School is an intense place, and its library is no joke. However, to help students unwind, the library is offering a rather unusual checkout option: Monty, a Jack Russell-border terrier mix.

Monty lives at home with Yale Law access librarian Julian Aiken, who has had Monty certified as a therapy dog. That means he's amenable to being handled by a lot of strangers, and can mind his manners while doing so.

Aiken says that so far, the law students seem to like the idea of an in-house therapy dog — all of Monty's half-hour sessions have been fully booked for his three-day trial period.

Seth Wayne, a third-year law student, signed up for one of the sessions, which involve sitting on a couch for half an hour in a back office with a small wiry-haired brown dog. You can pet him, give him a biscuit, maybe give him a drink of water — and that's about it.

"I think there's hard data available that dogs lower your blood pressure and make you more relaxed, just being around them," Wayne says. "That experience just has a tendency to calm you down."

While it's working out for the students, there is still the question of how to catalog Monty.

"When the idea for this therapy dog was tossed around," says law librarian Blair Kauffman, "our head of cataloging said, 'I can catalog anything — I can catalog a dog.' "

And she did. An official-looking entry in the law library catalog soon appeared for Monty, along with a Library of Congress classification number in the library catalogue
An update to the story indicates that Monty has since been withdrawn from the collection or was never even in circulation to start with.
Librarian Julian Aiken claims that circulating an untested stress reliever to its already overwhelmed students was simply a joke : “The idea of circulating [Monty] at the Yale Law Library is one that has been humorously kicked around.” 

By the way, the original bylines for these stories are from mid-September, not April 1!

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