Waiting for an event to start at a local bookstore, I walked around browsing the shelves. I came upon a section on animals, and a book caught my eye: Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World. Its cover featured a pert-looking orange tabby, staring out at the reader from behind a stack of library books.
|Browser is eager to greet patrons at the Pine River Library in Minnesota.|
Image via http://flavorwire.com
I was intrigued because I had never heard of a cat being in a library before. (Since then, I've learned that a library in Russia has hired a bowtie-wearing cat to be its assistant librarian.) I certainly have never seen a cat in a library in all my years of going to libraries. At bookstores, yes. But libraries? No. I found the idea of a "library cat" to be a novel one, so I began to flip through the book about Dewey.
Although Dewey's story is unique (he had been abandoned as a kitten in the night drop box, was discovered and taken in by the head librarian, and became beloved by the townspeople, ultimately becoming an international celebrity), his post as library cat is not. Apparently, many libraries across the country have cats, and Flavorwire profiled some of the most popular.
Along with Dewey, who was the longtime mascot at the Spencer Public Library in Spencer, Iowa, there is Browser at the Pine River Library in Pine River, Minnesota; Pages at the Valley Center Public Library in Valley Center, Kansas; the noble Sir Eli at the Los Robles Elementary School library in Porterville, California; and the elegantly named Porter C. Bibliocat (the "C" stands for "Catalog") at the Anna Porter Public Library in Gatlinburg, Tennessee, among others.
Sure, all of these library cats may be in small towns, but they are far from being small-time. As mentioned before, Dewey was an international celebrity that even had a film in the works (starring Meryl Streep, no less). Browser, Pages, and Tober at Thorntown Public Library in Thorntown, Indiana, have blogs. Browser has even been featured in a documentary film. Shadow at the Arkansas School for the Blind in Little Rock, Arkansas, works at fundraising events. Sir Eli visits hospitals and hospices, where he brightens the day of patients. Isn't that fabulous?