Library program gives students a playful break from finals
By Desiaire Rickman
Tail-wagging and game-playing brought a cheerful mood to the libraries during finals week.
The Ohio State libraries hosted Study Break Spot and Pause 4 Paws during one of the most stressful weeks of the year for students.
Thanks to a collaboration between the Libraries and area 4-H clubs, students were able to break from their books to play board games and other fun activities during finals week. And as a special treat, therapy animals were available on several occasions for students to interact with at Thompson Library from April 23-30.
Students seemed excited to see the animals. Benjamin Kee, a senior in Mechanical Engineering, took pictures of Bailey, a golden doodle visiting for Pause 4 Paws. “It’s pretty cool. I like dogs and they just make me happy,” he said.
Christina Diblasio, a first-year Psychology major, agreed.
“I like it because I love dogs and it’s a nice break from studying. It’s a nice break from stress, really,” Diblasio said. “I would definitely love to see it again in the future.
“Bailey’s awesome,” she added.
Annie Ondracek and Meredith Moller, first-years majoring in Neuroscience and Biology, respectively, were watching the event from the second floor of the Thompson library.
“We’re having a good time watching the dogs,” Moller said. They were studying for chemistry and they took a break to watch other students interact with Bailey.
It’s really good that the libraries are doing this and I would love to see it happen again in the future, Ondracek said.
“We’ve been getting very positive feedback. The students love it,” said Elizabeth Black, one of the librarians — along with Melanie McGurr — who helped move the project into action.
“The idea came from Carol Diedrichs, our director, last year; she thought it would be a fun thing to do for the students,” McGurr said. “She really thought it would be a great idea to show students that we care. We know this is a very stressful time for them and this is something that will help them relax and have a little fun.”
The project stemmed from the libraries wanting to take a more active role in students’ lives.
“The library is more than you might think,” Black said. “We’re here to help in lots of ways.”
The study break spot had a trial event in December that featured board games and puzzles to give students a chance to break from their studies. The therapy animals, though, were a new addition.
McGurr and Black contacted Lucinda Miller of the OSU-affiliated 4-H Club Small Animal Programs and invited them to participate in the project. The 4-H clubs do this kind of thing all the time, for free.
Debbie Wilson, a representative of the Pickerington Pet Pals 4-H Club, said animals and 4-H’ers go through special training, and the pets have to pass a 10-point Canine Good Citizenship test before they make these public playtime appearances.
There were smiles and giggles from those who took advantage of the opportunity.
“The event went well… not too crowded but busy,” Black said. “The flow of students was steady and they seemed to be enjoying it.”
Black said a review of student feedback will help determine if the program will be offered in the future, but no determination has yet been made.