Many of the young readers hold up the book as they read, the way they've seen their teachers or librarians read, Reidel said.

"They show her all the pictures," she noted.

While Holly listens, Reidel sits nearby, her hand on Holly's leash at all times. But she knows she can count on her dog who, she says, "was always sweet, quiet and easy to train."

Holly is a volunteer with Pets on Wheels.

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After passing a temperament test, she visited clients at the Mosaic Community Services for a few months.

But Reidel thought her dog was better suited to library work and they were asked to go to Lansdowne.

"It was a really good match for us and we've been doing it ever since," said Reidel, a writer and editor for an energy consulting company.

She also takes Holly to a Paws To Read Program at the Light Street Branch of the Enoch Pratt Free Library.

Holly has quite a few chores during her library time.

She has to take the hugs of plenty of dog lovers, including the librarians.

And then there is the matter of putting the littlest library patrons, and their parents, at ease.

"We have a lot of small children deciding, 'Am I afraid of this dog or am I not afraid of this dog?" Reidel said.

Holly, who is 9, waits patiently while the youngsters decide whether to approach her.

In January, Holly will begin volunteering at the Arbutus Library, a bit closer to home.

Her first monthly appearances have been scheduled for Jan. 26 and Feb. 23, at 2 p.m., according to Kim Preis, a librarian there.

Butterball the cat will also be on hand at Arbutus.

If it goes well, future dates will then be scheduled, Preis said.

For information on Paws to Read or to register a young reader at Lansdowne Library, call 410-887-5602.

For information or registration at Arbutus Library, call 410-887-1451.