Opening Day Collection: Animal Welfare

Library 266 Collection Management

Susan Lee

Organization and Community Overview

The San Diego Humane Society & SPCA first opened in 1880. It is an independent non-profit no-kill animal organization. It receives no government funding and relies solely on donations, grants, proceeds from its retail store Muttique, and other similar sources. Its mission according to its website is to provide “vital services to animals and people alike.” It has two facilities, the North Central one in Oceanside and one in Central San Diego, as well as satellite locations throughout San Diego.

In furthering its goals, the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA run various programs to further its goals in animal welfare including sheltering and adopting animals, investigating animal cruelty and neglect, rescuing animals in emergency situations, positive reinforcement training through training classes, providing adult and youth education programs, sharing animals through pet-assisted therapy, and providing animal control and stray pet services in Oceanside and Vista through its North Campus facility.[1]

The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA offers several different humane education programs for children. One of their more important programs is an Animal Adventure Camp where children can spend their school breaks in the springtime or summer with some of the shelter’s adoptable animals including dogs, cats, rabbits, and rats. Games, crafts, and hands-on animal activities are designed to “help children develop respect and a positive attitude toward all living beings.” [2] There are usually different themes built into each camp, designed to appeal to both parents and children. Recent camp themes included careers with animals, animal valentines, and all the presidents’ pets. There is a large community of animal lovers in San Diego with its multiple dog parks, dog beaches, and many animal rescue groups.

San Diegan children between the ages of 5 and 11 are able to interact with domestic animals daily while at camp but it isn’t all fun and games. The Animal Adventure Camps are specially planned with the end goal “to nurture a sense of compassion and respect for living beings through enriching activities, educational curriculum, and hands-on experiences that are rewarding for kids and animals alike.”[3] This group is the intended audience for the collection.

The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA seeks to expand their educational program by starting a library aimed at young children, particularly the ones attended the Animal Adventure Camps. According to Christina Risley-Curtiss of the Arizona State University School of Social Work, sixty-nine million households in the United States have companion animals in their families. Over 70% of these households have minor children. Risley-Curtis points to research that shows children can have “powerful emotional connections with animals” that can either be positive or damaging depending on the situation. Violence against animals by children can indicate or predict other forms of violence. Risley-Curtis states that companion animals can assist children in feeling senses of security and unconditional love, contribute to their cognitive and language development, as well as reduce stress.[4]

According to Laurie Bergman, a San Diego-based veterinarian with a degree in behavioral science, establishing or maintaining a healthy home with both pets and children can be challenging. Many expectant or new parents end up relinquishing their pets. One of the things that can be done to help avoid problems is to teach children responsibility and compassion for animals. Bergman states “pets can be wonderful companions and playmates for children” but they must be taught to be gentle and that “not all animals are alike.”[5]

The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA Animal Education Camps exposes children to commonly kept pets such as dogs and cats but they also include rabbits, guinea pigs, hamsters, rats, and reptiles. Iztok Tomazic’s 2011 study looked at children’s fear and disgust when introduced to amphibians, and found there was more fear and disgust by both boys and girls when they had had no direct experience with them.[6] Although his study focused on biodiversity and environmental issues, the central lesson was the same. Introducing children to different species of animals that they are not normally exposed to is important to decrease fear, disgust, as well as the potential for harm. This teaching of compassion towards animals through introduction can also be done through materials such as books or computer programs if up close and personal contact is not possible.

The ASPCA, an independent non-profit organization separate from the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA, is the second largest animal welfare grant-maker in the nation. It responds to both large scale emergencies like animals impacted by Hurricane Katrina and smaller ones like contributing to spay/neuter funds of small rescue groups or local animal shelters.[7]

With the aid of a generous $600 grant from the ASPCA, the San Diego Humane Society SPCA can begin to create a library with materials on animal behavior and care, aimed at young children attending their Animal Adventure Camps. This audience is important because it aids in teaching children to both simply be kind to animals, and in retrospect to all others around them. Instilling traits necessary to be dedicated pet owners in children will help decrease the cycle pet abandonment and neglect in the future. It is the hope that the same traits will influence their future children and perhaps their parents in the present.

The scope of the collection will currently focus primarily on common domestic pets such as dogs, cats, rabbits, and other small animals or exotics like hamsters and turtles. There will be titles related to being kind to animals including choosing not to eat meat, buying products not tested on animals, and endangered animals. The future scope of the collection will later expand to wildlife, birds, horses, and farm or zoo animals as budget and space allows. Titles related to camp themes will be added as needed. One of the themes is careers with animals so some of those titles will appear in the initial collection.

Gift donations will be added to the collection as long as they match the scope of the collection and selection criteria.

User Needs Assessment



Children between the ages of 5 and 11 years old will be the primary users at the current time. Materials should be age appropriate and appeal to both boys and girls. Certain controversial topics including vegetarianism and veganism, animal abuse, dog fighting may be included but material should not be graphic and deal with the subjects in a sensitive matter due to the age of the children. The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA is a private non-profit and since we rely on donations, we want to minimize any potential criticism or concerns over reading material.

Selection Criteria

  • Popularity of animal/topic
  • Currency of information
  • Accuracy
  • Local emphasis
  • Ability to sustain interest of children in terms of readability or viewing
  • Age appropriate in terms of subject treatment
  • Reputation of author, publisher, producer or illustrator
  • Critical recommendation
  • Format and ease of use
  • Cost and availability
  • Topic or subject added as priority if not already in collection


The budget is $600.00.


The collection has a goal of being a mixed format of books, magazines, DVDs, computer software, posters, and puppets. Children learn in a variety of formats and we want to make learning fun and visual for them. Since it is a new collection, we are attempting to include as many different formats as possible in the beginning.

Titles to be purchased:

“Animal and Pet Care Careers”

Written by Mary Price Lee and Richard S. Lee

Part of the McGraw-Hill Vocational Guidance Career Series

ISBN-13: 978-0785768777

Price: $14.95 (no discount price found)

The 2009 edition, aimed at grades 7 and up, is a concise guide featuring information about a variety of animal-related professional careers. Chapters in the book are on topics such as preventive medicine in the new century, animal care history including information from veterinary medicine in ancient times to the present, aptitude for animal care careers, animal care and veterinarian employment outlook, veterinary school, the different specializations in veterinary medicine like zoo animals or research, support careers in veterinary offices like veterinarian technician or assistant, zoo careers, careers working with wildlife, careers with dogs, careers with horses, and more. There is also a list of veterinary schools in the country, professional and internet resources available for further research. The authors are recognized experts and active in the field of animal care and medicine. They add personal anecdotes and tales of career success from those currently working in the animal care industry.[8]

According to a recent AP news article, the American Pet Products Association estimated total spending by Americans on their pets was $53 billion in 2012, up 5% from 2011, despite economic issues.[9] It is a growing field and more animal loving, pet care workers will be needed in the future.


Big Dogs Rule Collection (series of 6 books)

German Shepard: Super Smart by Natalie Lunis

Great Dane: Gentle Giant by Stephen Person

Labrador Retriever: Most Popular

Library Binding

Regular Price: $151.60; Discount Price: $113.70

Web-hosted E-books Regular Price: $191.60; Discount Price $143.70


Children’s Choices Selection in 2013. Numerous photos of the dogs compliment informative text about each dog breed. Titles are a set of 6 books. The dog breeds highlighted in the books are German Shepard, Great Dane, Labrador retriever, Newfoundland, Rottweiler, and Saint Bernard. Reading level is grade 3 but also appropriate for grades 2 through 7. Each book is 32 pages. Features narrative, non-fiction text written as high-interest story. There are also large full-color photos, maps, and other graphic representations.

“California Plants and Animals”

Written by Stephen Feinstein

No ISBN found


Price $8.99 (no discount price found)

The book looks at native plants and animals, including endangered and extinct species in the state of California. It will be relevant to the children since they live in Southern California. Part of the Animal Adventure Camp is to teach children to respect all kinds of life, including vegetation, wildlife and endangered species.


Dog Lovers Collection from PBS

5 DVDs


Regular Price: $104.91; Discount Price: $70.99|COMBO&parentPage=family

Documentary style titles include Through A Dog’s Eyes, NOVA’s Dogs and More Dogs, Nature’s Dogs, Nature’s Why We Love Cats and Dogs and Nature’s Dogs That Changed the World.

Exploring Animal Rights and Animal Welfare

Written by Lisa Trumbauer

Published by Greenwood Press in 2002

4 volume set aimed at youths

Volume 1: Using Animals for Food

Volume 2: Using Animals for Research

Volume 3: Using Animals for Entertainment

Volume 4: Using Animals for Clothing

Includes glossary, bibliography and index with links to animal-related websites for further research

Price: $127.96 for the set via Amazon

The books are aimed at middle schoolers per Booklist, which recommends the title. The books discuss all aspects of the subjects at hand, being sure to include both pros and cons of the animal welfare debates so that children can make up their own minds about the issue. Booklist recommends the title for school and public libraries.

School Library Journal recommends the title for children in grades 5 to 8. According to their review, volume 4 includes animals in zoos, circuses, rodeos and other arenas but describes their abuse or mistreatment in matter-of-fact generalizations rather than using specifics.

Furry Ferrets

Written by Natalie Lunis

Part of the Complete Peculiar Pets Series (other titles are Green Iguanas, Miniature Horses, Potbellied Pigs)

ISBN: 978-1-59716-860-1

Library Binding

Regular Price: $22.61; Discount Price: $16.95


This 2010 title is 24 pages long and aimed at reading level grade 3 but also appropriate for grades 1 through 6. The book is intended to teach children about ferrets with large color photos, facts about ferrets, and a guide that helps children decide if a ferret is right for them. “Furry Ferrets” relays real life anecdotes about ferrets and practical care advice. Ferrets are illegal in California so children in the state will most likely not have personal experience with the animals. Providing literature about ferrets will make them more familiar with the animal.

Little Dogs Rock! (Series of 8 titles)

Beagle: A Howling Good Time by Duncan Searl

Chihuahua: Seńor Tiny by Natalie Lunis

Dachshund: The Hot Dogger by Natalie Lunis

Jack Russell Terrier: Bundle of Energy by Natalie Lunis

Pomeranian: Pom Pom Ado by Sunita Apte

Pug: What A Mug by Lori Haskins Houran

Toy Poodle: Oodles of Fun by Meish Goldish

Yorkshire Terrier: Tiny but Tough by Margaret Fetty

2010 Children’s Choice Selection

Recommended by LibrarySparks and AKC Family Dog

Each book is 32 pages long with full color photos and graphics as well as narrative non-fiction text. They are similar to the Big Dogs Rule Collection but about small breed dogs. Recommended for independent reading.

Library Binding

Regular Price: $202.13; Discount Price: $151.60

Web-hosted E-books – Regular Price $255.47; Discount Price: $191.60


“One Big Happy Family: Heartwarming Stories of Animals Caring for One Another”

Written by Lisa Rojak

160-page Paperback

Regular Price: $15.99 (no discount price found on PBS)


This 2013 title available from PBS features “inspiring, true tales of interspecies adoption” involving animals that have saved the lives of babies from other species and raised them as their own. The book both celebrates parenthood and the miracles that occurs involving animals. Some of the stories feature a Border Collie dog and baby pigs, a cat and baby ducklings, and a Labrador retriever and a baby hippo.

Pets 101 DVD

The Discovery Channel

No ISBN available

Regular Price: $19.95 (no discount price available)


Pets 101 is an 86-minute long DVD from Animal Planet that introduces a variety of animal companions to an audience of all-ages. The video reminds you that there are more than just dogs and cats out there, and tells you more about the lesser-known, unique options. In this DVD, you’ll get answers to questions such as: Which furry pet can swim better than most dogs? Which tiny pet can roll into a perfect little ball, wearing up to seven thousand spikes for defense? The Pets 101 Animal Planet DVD also solves the questions: Which petite animal can belch out 10 liters of gas per hour? Which four-legged beast’s milk was used as a substitute for human?”

“Pit Bulls & Pit Bull Type Dogs: 82 Dogs The Media Doesn’t Want You To Meet”

By Melissa McDaniel

The Photo Book Projects

Regular Price: $39.95 (no discount price available)


“Pit Bulls & Pit Bull Type Dogs” is another title available through Discovery Channel. It features 82 portraits and stories of American pit bull terriers and pit bull type breeds designed to change attitudes towards the often maligned and discriminated against breed. Some of the dogs depicted included some of Michael Vick’s former pit bulls, Oogy from the New York Times best-selling book, “Oogy: The Dog Only A Family Could Love,” Wallace the doggie agility pit bull star, and many others.

Understanding Cats with Roger Tabor

2-Part DVD

No ISBN available

Regular Price: $29.99 (no discount price available)


This 1998 DVD is 80 minutes long. Cat expert Roger Tabor helps viewers understand cats and kittens, how to care for them and learn about the world through the cats’ eyes.

“Vegan is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action”

Written and illustrated by Ruby Roth

North Atlantic Books

Hardcover, ISBN: 978-1-58394-354-0 (1-58394-354-4)

Regular Price $16.95


“Vegan is Love: Having Heart and Taking Action” by illustrator and author Ruby Roth. It is a 44-page picture book aimed at children between the ages of 7 and 10 years old or grades 2 to 5 by North Atlantic Books. It teaches about veganism as a healthy lifestyle of compassion without being preachy, choosing products not tested on animals, things we can do to protect both animals and the environment, and more. Roth’s books come highly commended as she brings humor and illustration to touch open challenging and controversial animal welfare subjects. Describing her books as “frank but gentle,” Roth uses her experience as a former elementary school teacher to teach children about why people become vegetarians or vegans. Her illustrations are not graphic, Roth argues. She has only experienced children responding to her books with “great curiosity, diplomacy, and insight.”[10]

Roth’s first book “That’s Why We Don’t Eat Animals: A Book About Vegans, Vegetarians, and All Living Things” was initially considered as it was more popular but the title may turn off some parents and children so one of her other books was chosen instead. Although some publishers and critics did not receive the book well, they have had multiple printings and have been reprinted in several languages. Roth’s books use colorful artwork and lively text to introduce vegetarianism and veganism to children through her books.[11]

Time Period

The materials will be as current as possible as long as the content is relevant and accurate. Many items about animals and animal care are outdated, particularly about exotic animals, as science and animal behaviorists continue to study them and learn new things.

Summary of Selection Tools

A search of selection tools aimed at children and schools was done. There were many but not all of them had animal or animal care, or animal welfare-based themed books. Many of the books were aimed at children younger than the program age (Kindergarten grade level) or teenagers. is a large scale online retailer where you can view and order a variety of books including children’s materials.

Bookhive: Your Guide to Children’s Literature and Books was developed by the Public Library of Charlotte-Mecklenburg County. Bookhive was designed for children, from babies to 12-year olds. It is also used by parents, teachers, or anyone interested in looking for children’s literature. There is a reader’s advisory service, book reviews by library staff and parents.


Booklist provides book reviews for selection choices.


Children’s Book Council is a non-profit organization of children’s book publishers. There is a searchable online catalog.


Hornbook provides publications about books for children and young adults. There is a searchable database of over 80,000 reviews to help you locate the best in children’s literature.


School Library Journal provides book reviews for selection choices.


School Media Associates is a helpful selection tool. They have a searchable catalog for DVD materials. There are many interesting movie titles about animals, primarily exotics and endangered species, in their catalog.




Social Studies School Service maintains a large catalog that consists primarily of supplemental materials such as maps, digital and traditional activities, books, and posters intended for classroom use. As suggested by their name, their focus is in the field of social studies. They have many well-reviewed animal and animal-related titles.



Summary of Publishers


Bearport Publishing (

  • Features high-interest non-fiction for Grades K to 8
  • Titles are curriculum-aligned with many animal topics
  • Titles have received accolades from many organizations including the ASPCA

Capstone Press (

  • Publisher of non-fiction for all ages and abilities
  • Hundreds of titles about domestic animals, farm animals, wild animals, endangered animals, and more kinds of animals from different continents
  • Offers library binding and library processing

Discovery Channel/Animal Planet and PBS are both cable channel networks that are critically acclaimed, well-known and popular among both adults and children. Their stores feature their own imprints. They contain relevant and appropriate titles for purchase.

National Geographic Store, Animals and Wildlife section (

Zoobooks Magazines (

[1] About the San Diego Humane Society and SPCA:

[2] The San Diego Humane Society and SPCA: Humane Education:

[3] Animal Adventure Camp/Mini-Camp Application:

[4] RISLEY-CURTISS, C. (2013). Expanding the Ecological Lens in Child Welfare Practice to Include Other Animals. Journal Of Sociology & Social Welfare, 40(4), 107-130.

[5] Bergman, L. (2006). Ensuring a behaviorally healthy pet-child relationship. Veterinary Medicine, 101(10), 670-682.

[6] Tomažič, I. (2011). Seventh Graders’ Direct Experience with, and Feelings toward, Amphibians and Some Other Nonhuman Animals. Society & Animals, 19(3), 225-247. doi:10.1163/156853011X578901

[7] ASPCA Grants:


[9] Americans spent over $53 billion on pets last year:

[10] SHOOT, B. (2013). Teaching Kids about Vegan Living. Herizons, 26(4), 46-47.

[11] Library of Congress Publisher Information: