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The Morris Area Public Library to offer "Paws to Read" summer reading program

MORRIS – Being “in the doghouse” is generally not a good thing, but staff at the Morris Area Public Library are encouraging it.

In this case, it’s a real doghouse and it’s inside the library, courtesy of its builder, Ray Lisy of Morris, children’s librarian Carol Hutchings said.

“I thought it would be neat for kids to take books inside the doghouse and read them,” Hutchings said. “I like to be enthusiastic. It can get the kids excited about reading.”

To complement the “Paws to Read” animal-themed summer reading program, Donna Cockream and four other members of the Morris Women’s Club created 25 zoo-related dioramas and placed them throughout the library, Hutchings said.

Then the women created fabrics legs of animals – such as cows, bears, cheetahs and giraffes – stuffed them with newspapers and put them on stands, Hutchings said. Children will log the number of books read on pretend bones.

“Each week, we hope to beat the week before,” Hutchings said.

Scattered about the library are displays of suggested reading material, including: “Arthur’s New Puppy,” by Marc Brown; “Never, Ever Shout in a Zoo,” by Karma Wilson; “Pete the Cat,” by Eric Litwin; and Jonathon London’s “Froggy” series.

Although the program is aimed at children in first through fifth grades, Hutchings said younger children, as well as teens and adults, won’t feel left out. For instance, junior high school youth will keep logs of books read and reviewed for chances to win prizes.

Books at preschool storytime and lap-sit programs will center on animals, Hutchings said, and the music program will include favorite ditties like “How Much is That Doggie in the Window?”

And for a high-tech, virtual trip to the animal kingdom, Dave Latimer from the library’s technology support department, will show participants how to use e-readers as an interactive petting zoo.

“Visitors can lift, pet, swipe, poke and turn pages,” Hutchings said.

The reason behind this virtual trip, Hutchings said, is to provide patrons with information on downloading books from OMNI, the company that supplies the library with its collection of 15,000 e-books.

Special events include a pet food and shelter supply drive, as well as pet portraits and a family-friendly live bat presentation by Incredible Bats in July, Hutchings said.

Big Wolf Ranch is set to conduct two programs. One brings live wolves into the library; the other is a field trip to the ranch itself. Featured animals include a wolf, porcupine, skunk, ground hog and coyote, Hutchings said.

The finale will include ice cream and dog tricks every minute by Robin’s Dog Show.

“Dogs will jump through hoops, walk on their hind legs, count and know the alphabet, things like that,” Hutchings said.

The Morris Area Public Library will begin registration June 2 for its “Paws to Read” summer reading program, which will run from June 9 through July 19. It’s open to area residents of all ages with library cards.

The Morris Area Public Library is at 604 Liberty St., Morris. For information on the “Paws to Read” program, call 815-942-6880 or visit or

As part of its “Paws to Read” program, the Morris Library will host a Pet Food and Shelter Supply Drive from June 8 to June 14. Drop off donation items during regular library hours. Donations will be divided among Just Animals Shelter of Mazon, Pet Project of Marseilles and Grundy County Animal Control.
Requested items are:
• Dog and cat collars
• Ceramic food and water bowls, not double bowls
• Towels and small blankets
• IAMS dog food (green bag)
• IAMS cat food (orange bag)
• Purina Kitten Chow
• Canned cat and kitten food
• Nylabone chew bones
• Big rawhide chews
• Large trash bags and small kitchen trash bags
• Paper towels
• Laundry soap and bleach
• Dishwashing liquid
• Postage stamps
• Gift cards: Farm & Fleet, Walmart, Brother’s Country Supply, Menards
• Monetary

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