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It’s time for The Big Read—a community reading project that brings neighbors, friends, family, and students in the Miami Valley together to read and discuss the same book.

The Big Read has a special Greene County connection this year. The Big Read book is The Underdogs by Melissa Fay Greene, about the Xenia-based service dog academy 4 Paws for Ability. To take part in The Big Read, pick up or download a copy of The Underdogs from the library, read it, and then join other readers for an in-person or online book discussion. We’ll also have a series of special Big Read events, including visits by 4 Paws for Ability to several library locations.

Cover of The Underdogs, by Melissa Fay Greene

The Underdogs

By Melissa Fay Greene

At age 24, a neuromuscular disease left Karen Shirk ventilator dependent and immobile. Every service dog agency in the country turned her down because she was “too disabled.” Her nurse encouraged her to raise her own, and her German shepherd Ben dragged her back into life. A thousand dogs later, Shirk’s service dog academy 4 Paws for ability is doing the same for disabled children and their families.

Book Discussions

Join one of our friendly book discussion groups.


Online Book Club

Weekly in March


Xenia Community Library

Friday, March 9 at 10:15 a.m.


Winters-Bellbrook Community Library

Tuesday, March 20 at 7:00 p.m.


Jamestown Community Library

Monday, March 26 at 1:00 p.m.


Cedarville Community Library

Monday, March 26 at 6:00 p.m.

4 Paws for Ability will visit Cedarville Community library with a dog currently in training. The book discussion will follow the 4 Paws for Ability presentation.


Beavercreek Community Library

Tuesday, April 10 at 6:30 p.m.

Registration required.

4 Paws for Ability Visits

Come to learn more about 4 Paws for Ability’s work, meet a dog currently in training, and see demonstrations.

4 Paws for Ability logo

Jamestown Community Library

Tuesday, March 6 at 3:30 p.m. • All Ages


Fairborn Community Library

Tuesday, March 20 at 6:00 p.m. • Adults

Registration required.


Cedarville Community Library

Monday, March 26 at 6:00 p.m. • Adults

A book discussion of The Underdogs will follow the 4 Paws for Ability presentation.


Xenia Community Library

Thursday, March 29 at 6:00 p.m. • All Ages


Yellow Springs Community Library

Monday, April 2 at 4:00 p.m. • Teens & Adults

Children welcome with an adult


Beavercreek Community Library

Monday, April 9 at 6:30 p.m. • Kids, Teens, & Adults

For ages 10 and up.
Registration required.

Sleeping puppy from 4 Paws for Ability

Special Events

Can’t get enough? Enjoy one of these dog-related programs.


Your New Puppy

Monday, March 12 at 6:30 p.m. • All Ages • Bellbrook

Do you want to know more about getting a puppy for yourself? Join us to learn about how to pick a puppy, their gear and toys, caring for a puppy, and puppy socialization. Presented by a local dog trainer.
Registration required.


Dog Toys for SICSA

Tuesday, March 13 at 4:30 p.m. • Kids & Teens • Bellbrook

Come join SICSA’s TAILS VolunTeen group and learn how to make toys for pets. Toys will be donated to SICSA. This is a special event to go along with our Big Read. Be sure to check out the book The Underdogs by Melissa Fay Greene. For ages 9–21.
Registration required.


Greene County Sheriff’s Canine Unit

Thursday, March 15 at 6:00 p.m. • All Ages • Yellow Springs

Join us for an informative meeting with one of the Greene County Sheriff’s canine unit. Chief Carlson will be here to show support of our Sheriff Department.


Social Skills for Dogs

Monday, March 19 at 6:30 p.m. • Adults • Yellow Springs

Canine behavioral specialist Janee Crafton will talk about specific social skills that can encourage good behavior in your dog.


It’s a Doggie World: Going Beyond the Page

Thursday, March 29 at 1:00 p.m. • All Ages • Bellbrook

Did you read The Underdogs by Melissa Fay Greene for the 2018 Big Read and wonder how it applies to your life? Join us to learn about different dog disciplines and search dogs. Presented by Athena Haus of K9 Karma with her search dog, Zena.
Registration required.


Interactive Lady and the Tramp

Friday, March 30 at 2:00 p.m. • Kids • Bellbrook

Join us for this special event to go along with the area wide Big Read. We will be showing the Disney movie, Lady and the Tramp, with a little participation from the audience. For ages 5–10.
Registration required.


Massage for Your Dog

Monday, April 16 at 6:30 p.m. • Adults • Yellow Springs

Canine behavioral specialist Janee Crafton demonstrates massage techniques so that you can put a “smile” on your four-legged friend!



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