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Libraries HN | Libraries OZ
These pages are devoted to library cats, both past and present, in the United States of America, and we collected them together into a separate set of pages because there have been quite a large number of them over the years. While budget cuts and other difficulties have meant that some American libraries have been unable to keep their feline mascots, or cats have not been replaced when they died, in some places library cats remain alive and well and are continuing to give great pleasure to staff and patrons alike, as well as performing their job of rodent control. Dewey Readmore Books of Spencer, Iowa became the most celebrated library feline of recent times (he died in 2006), whereas in the early 1980s Baker and Taylor, two Scottish Fold cats, arrived at a small-town library in Nevada (see entry for Douglas County below) and for over a decade were very famous throughout the States and beyond. We dedicate these pages, though, to all the other unsung library cats across America who have made, and continue to make, libraries pleasant and 'fun' places to be. There's no doubt that cats and books go well together!
Information and images have been gleaned from many sources, notably but not exclusively library web pages, and we express warm thanks to all who have supplied information, particularly those librarians with whom we have been in touch. If you see anything incorrect or incomplete, we'd be pleased to hear from you so we can amend it.
Special acknowledgements must go to Gary Roma, whose interactive Library Cats Map perhaps inspired this whole project as well as providing certain images, and whose 1997 film Puss in Books (available on video) gave a fascinating insight into the world of library cats. His listings were collected over a number of years and were more complete than ours could be here, and also extended to library cats in many other parts of the world. Gary moved on to other things, his site wasn't updated for a long time and then, probably around the end of 2016, it disappeared and the domain appears to have been given up. A copy of his pages can still (early 2023) be seen here, although it's not known if the information has been updated in any way. The Internet Archive's Wayback Machine also has copies of Gary's pages, although it's possible their archive of the site may not be complete.
AKRON CARNEGIE PUBLIC LIBRARY
In the late summer of 2013 an abandoned kitten was found next to the library bookdrop and was taken in. She was adopted by the director, and the library board gave permission for her to become resident. She was named Catniss Evergreen, from the heroine in the popular Hunger Games books (with 'Everdeen' changed to �Evergreen�, as the library is an Indiana Evergreen one). After about three years though, in the late summer of 2016, Catniss was becoming upset and frightened by continuing construction work outside the library, so the director decided she'd be better off at home, where in 2021 she still lives happily.
Enter Mordecai! In December 2016 another stray turned up, a handsome grey tabby, and was taken in from the freezing temperatures outside. He was soon found to have an affinity with patrons and has remained as library cat, greeting people as they come through the doors. He doesn't live permanently at the library, but goes home with the director in the evening and when the library is closed.
Many thanks to library director Janet Hawley for the images and information about the Akron cats.
ANNA PORTER PUBLIC LIBRARY
Late in 2009 the library adopted a cat, a ginger-and-white male of about 3 years old, from the local animal shelter and named him Porter C. Bibliocat (Porter after the library's founder, while the 'C' stands for 'Catalog'). There was a complaint that having a cat in the library was a disservice to people with allergies; but in a refreshing decision the Board of Trustees decided it would be in the best interest of the library and its patrons and employees to keep a resident cat. As can be seen from the photos, Porter is a laid-back feline, and we are told he does not 'talk' a lot. At weekends and holiday times he's visited and cared for by staff who live nearby.
Although several Trustees have cat allergies, they are not worried about one well-groomed cat in a relatively large, open space. For patrons, library director Kenton Temple placed an attractive, well-worded sign regarding Porter at the library entrance; any patron can request that Porter be relegated to the back during their visit, and the staff will comply.
In March 2014 we heard that 'Porter is most definitely still here, usually in his basket on the circulation desk! Many folks come to visit just to meet him.' In early 2018 it was good to learn that he was still going strong.
However, in late January 2020 it was felt that the time had come for him to retire, so he went to live with one of the library patrons. The library director visited a number of times to make sure he was relaxed and settling in well, and he seemed very happy in his new abode.
ARKANSAS SCHOOL FOR THE BLIND & VISUALLY IMPAIRED
The library cat programme was started in the late 1990s by librarian Susan Loesch, with the current cat(s) travelling back and forth with her each working day rather than living at the library. Piper was the first, taken in as a 4-month-old-kitten and having a long tenure as one of the 'assistant library cats' until autumn 2010, when he died of intestinal lymphoma. In 2001 he was joined by Big Footsie rescued from euthanasia at an animal shelter and so named because he had large feet with extra toes. He became Head Library Cat, a responsible position involving numerous duties, especially making the library a fun and happy place to visit and being a 'reading motivator' for the elementary-school students. The much loved 'Foots' was lost to heart disease and renal failure in summer 2009, after 8 years in post. A memorial book was created in his honour and an oil painting of him was placed on the library front desk; there remains a lovely tribute to him over several pages starting here.
After Footsie's demise the top position was taken over by red tabby Alex, only survivor of 4 three-week-old kittens taken on in November 2003 and still needing to be bottle fed. To celebrate his 'promotion' and his sixth birthday there was a party in October 2009, attended by many friends and admirers from the school; guests were regaled with popcorn and 'orange tabby punch'! Alex quickly grew into his position, but died unexpectedly in April 2011 from a mystery infection; he was sorely missed.
Tank, a large and cuddly tabby rescued from a feral colony, was next in line to be head cat, but although he loved the children the library itself seemed to make him nervous, so it was decided he should just visit occasionally, and two new 'co-head library cats' were taken on. Barney was a large, laid-back, orange tabby from a feral colony, where the other ferals were said to be afraid of him and he was due to be evicted but at the library he seemed very peaceful and took to the job immediately. As a colleague he had Shadow, a 2-year-old all-black cat, outgoing and calm, who also took readily to the job. As well as their library duties, the pair acted as public-relations cats at fund-raising events for Feline Rescue and Rehome (FuRR), a rescue organisation that Susan and four friends started in 2001 and from where many of the library cats came.
In addition to the chief library cats, there were several assistants over the years. Footsie was assisted at different times by Daisy, a small tabby; Valley, a flamepoint Siamese; and Bill Murray, another Siamese who became a great favourite. All three were positive for feline leukaemia. There was also Bessie, a tortoiseshell Manx who had heartworms, successfully treated but causing residual heart problems from which she died 4 years later. A 'special case' cat came to live at the library later: SnuggleBunny, a 6-month-old sealpoint Siamese kitten who had feline leukemia and had also been facing euthanasia. Staff and schoolchildren were determined to make what was expected to be quite a short life as enjoyable as possible for her. She died early in 2010, to be greatly missed.
By 2014 it appeared that the library cats programme was no longer operating; we don't know when that happened or the reason, but it seemed Mrs Loesch was no longer at the school.
With many thanks to Susan Loesch for all her help.
ASOTIN COUNTY LIBRARY
In March 2013 the library was given Carmen, a pretty young female cat and two days later she was found to be pregnant! She gave birth to six healthy kittens, who were named Lor, Luna, Dudley, Mikey, Rascal and Arnold. They were friendly, liking to lie in the sunshine somewhere, to sit by the front door to meet people when they come in or to wander around the computers looking for someone to pet them; they also 'helped' with events like storytime. By the time they were weaned, aged 10 to 12 weeks, five had been adopted; but Mikey remained with his mother (by then spayed) and they are permanent library residents.
In early 2018 Carmen and son Mikey were staying at the library director's home because of construction work at the library, but were due back when the project was finished. Carmen was said to have 'gotten plump', while Mikey still likes to get into patrons' bags when they're on the computer or reading!
AZLE MEMORIAL LIBRARY
Molli was the beloved cat of the library in the Texas town of Azle, not far from Fort Worth. Her name came from the library's first, DOS-based computer system, which was known as Molli. The cat was so popular that at one point she was 'catnapped' after closing time one Saturday. Posters were put up to report her missing, and on Monday morning a patron returned her, claiming to have found her. The person then gave herself away by saying Molli didn't get on with the dog! No action was taken, as everyone was just so pleased to have Molli back on the job. Molli died in 2007 while work was in progress on a new library building; but a sculpture of her was commissioned so that her memory now lives on in the new location.
BAY CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Winnie was adopted by the Bay City Public Library in 2001 after she'd been found hiding around the dumpster behind the building; the vet thought she was about 2 years old at the time. She kept the lively spirit of a kitten, assisting employees and volunteers in the staff room with their daily duties (and lunch, if she could manage to distract them!), being introduced to new library patrons of all ages, and then enjoying long naps in the freshly emptied boxes of incoming books. Unfortunately she developed stomach and intestinal issues more recently, which made it hard for her to use her litter box, and she lost a lot of weight. Winnie passed away on 9 January 2014 at the age of about 15; she was very much missed. The Friends of the Library have put her name on their plaque as a life member of the Friends.
Winnie was the last official Bay City Library cat, although Stax was temporarily fostered there for about six months until a permanent home was found for him.
Many thanks to Sue Hall for information and several images.
BEALETON PUBLIC LIBRARY
In about 2005 a cat was found living rough at the nearby 'Depot', which was boarded up at the time, and he was adopted by the library staff. (The Depot is a former rail station building, built in the early twentieth century, which has since been renovated and is now used by the library as a program room and meeting space.) Since the red tabby is a polydactyl cat, he earned the name Ernest P. Hemingway Ernie for short after the famous author who had a number of polydactyl cats. According to Ernie, his extra toes 'add to my overall dashing appearance and distinction, while the "P" in my name stands for "polydactyl"'. Ernie lives in the library workroom and 'runs the library from there'. He's often to be found sleeping in the manager's chair, while other duties include keeping an eye on the parking lot, and greeting patrons. He can travel vicariously to places around the world by means of photo cards, known as 'Flat Ernies', which people can put in their suitcases and photograph at their destination!
In early 2018 Ernie was reported as still doing well at the Bealeton Library.
BEECH GROVE PUBLIC LIBRARY
In August 1997 the library adopted two female kittens as library pets they were sisters and named them Tigger and Pooh [someone must have been an A.A. Milne fan! Ed.]. They were sponsored by the Beech Grove Animal Hospital who provided their care, and the Friends of the library, with the help of donations from the public, paid for their food. We believe they remained at the library until at least 2002, but don't know what became of them then.
BRADFORD AREA PUBLIC LIBRARY
For a number of years, from 1987 until he died of old age in 2000, Dr Seuss usually known just as Seuss was cat-in-charge at the library. He arrived as a six-month-old kitten in a similar manner to Dewey of Spencer, Iowa via the book drop on a cold and stormy night and, as no one claimed him, he and the library adopted each other. During his tenure he trained five library directors and supervised the move to a new building, all the while making sure staff did their jobs properly. For his 12th birthday 100 of his friends were invited to a big party at the library. When Seuss died, which was front-page news in Bradford, he was cremated and his ashes are buried in the garden. He is fondly remembered by a plaque and mounted photograph hanging in the Children's Room.
The library board was not planning a successor to Seuss, but a survey of patrons convinced them otherwise. The local SPCA thought that Gloria, a Maine Coon kitten, would be a good choice, so in December 2000 she came to take over Seuss' duties, and a contest among children at the library renamed her Miss Whispurr. She proved to be ideal, attending meetings, sitting in on story hours, walking across keyboards and leaving cat hair everywhere! One of her favourite napping spots is on top of the warm photocopier. There were very few complaints about her, demonstrating that she did a very good public-relations job for the library. She even appeared on the calendar one year; and one year was voted winner of the McKean County SPCA's annual 'favourite pet' contest.
The staff are cat-friendly, shared litter duties and ensured Miss Whispurr was properly fed (tuna, chicken and spiced beef jerky were favourites). Donations ensured that she was self-supporting, and when the library was closed there was someone to come along and check on her. Whispurr used to have a monthly blog where she gave her view of library affairs, and her own Facebook page under the name of 'Whispurr Nap'. In 2012, when the library adopted a new logo in the form of a tree growing out of the spine of a book, a little cat silhouette was included in the foliage to pay homage to Whispurr and Dr Seuss.
Miss Whispurr died in August 2016, aged 16. She had charmed her way into everyone's hearts since her arrival in 2000, becoming a much loved community fixture, and she will be very much missed. Her two favourite activities, according to the library, were sitting on computer keyboards while people tried to do work, and eating lots of cat treats! The possibility of taking on another cat sometime in the future was not ruled out, although more than a year later there was no news of one.
BROKEN BOW PUBLIC LIBRARY
This library is one of few with a traditional open fireplace, so naturally that's where TLC (for Top Library Cat) was likely to be found during those cold Nebraska winters. However, if there was any kind of celebration going on, he was likely to be at the centre of it. He enjoyed 'working the room' when poets, authors and various other speakers stopped in for a visit, and stood front and centre at the wedding of a former library board member. When he wasn't entertaining others, TLC found the writing of Lillian Jackson Braun entertained him but of course he was never against perusing any literature that starred fellow felines or fluttering fish!
As has been the case in some other libraries, there was an issue about TLC's presence involving a couple of people who claimed they couldn't go to the library because of allergies. The library said it would take steps to address the problem, and hoped TLC would be able to remain there for the rest of his life.
In the spring of 2013 TLC was still in residence and said to be 'very spoiled'. Sadly, however, the library announced his passing in early 2014, saying, 'He had been part of our library for nearly 17 years and we miss him terribly. ... he had a great personality and loved his environment. Thanks for all the memories TLC!'
B S RICKS MEMORIAL LIBRARY
The first library cat here was Powell Ricks; he was born in 1993, found as a small, sickly kitten on Powell Street, near the library hence his name. After 3 years he went to live with John Ellzey, who is the Reference and Local History Librarian and current 'cat carer'. Powell died in 2003. Since then the library seems to have become something of a haven for local cats, some of which are 'dropped off', and staff do their best to rehome them after they're 'fixed'. But a nucleus of nearly a dozen remains and they are considered permanent, although they don't live in the library itself.
The undoubted 'Queen of the Cats' is Orangela, who arrived in about 2006 and has been featured in Cat Fancy magazine in the US. Before being spayed she had two litters of kittens, ten in total; all the second litter of six were rehomed, but three of the first batch remain as some of Orangela's 'subjects' (the fourth died in a traffic accident); they are Misty Moon, Orange Julius and Caramel. The seven other 'subjects' in early 2014 are Socks (the oldest at around 9 or 10), Stubby (has a short tail), Tailey (has half a tail), Babalou (a natural bobtail), Mister Gray, Snowdrop (solid white), and Sultan (solid black). There's also a neighbouring cat who visits for almost every meal, called Spot On. [We don't have pictures of him or of Sultan Ed.]
There's a very generous board member who is the cats' benefactress, paying for all their food and the vet bills. John's job is to take care of them; he says: 'Like the old-style postman, neither rain, nor snow, nor dark of night shall deter me from my appointed rounds.'
Postscript: After posting the above we learned that Snowdrop had been missing for a while and may have been lost; and Socks, who was the oldest resident, had died, probably from old age.
In early 2018 the library didn't respond to information requests, so we don't know whether there are still any cats there or not.
BUNKER HILL PUBLIC LIBRARY DISTRICT
Cricket and Olivia were indoor/outdoor cats who lived at the library, although we aren't sure how long they were there. It's hard to believe, but tragically someone poisoned them in spring 2009.
CAMDEN PUBLIC LIBRARY
Pumpkin was a stray kitten that found his way to the doors of this library in 2007; he's thought to be about 5 years old now (2011). He likes to stay close to the circulation desk, near the staff, but is a wonderful greeter for the library clients and enjoys being a 'lap cat' too. He's well loved, and patrons have brought him gifts of toys, catnip, and even a home-made bed! There's a charming short video of Pumpkin at YouTube.
In 2014 it was reported that Pumpkin was 'doing very well at the library', and in early 2018 he was still residing there.
Charlie adopted CASBS as his home in 2003, when he was believed to be about a year old, and remained there until 2011. He then 'retired' and now (early 2014) enjoys life as a house cat at the home of one of the staff members. He's still missed at the office.
Thanks to librarian and information officer Tricia N Soto for information about Charlie and permission to use images.
CAZENOVIA PUBLIC LIBRARY
Cazenovia is a village in Madison County in the Syracuse metropolitan area of New York State. The first library cat in Cazenovia was Dewey Decimal; he arrived in July 1985 but died in February 1988. He was succeeded by Kitty, who occupied the post for 11 years until October 1999.
The next feline to grace the library was Jesse, quite an adventurous soul who loved riding in the elevator, 'just because he could'! He had something of a reputation as an escape artist, too; but was also a meeter and greeter par excellence and was much loved by patrons. He held his job from 2000 until he died in April 2009, at the age of about 14.
Since September 2009 there's been a new library cat at Cazenovia; she was named Page and described as very playful. In early 2018 she still lived at the library and was loving her life especially if it involved a nap on her beanbag!
CHARLES & ONA B FREE MEMORIAL LIBRARY
The board of this library in the town of Dublin (part of the Pulaski County Library System in Virginia) took on Martha as resident cat in 2005 on the recommendation of the local humane society, as she was so gentle and loved people to pick her up and make a fuss of her. Because she was beginning a new life, it was felt she should have a new name, so she became Belle (after Ona Belle Free) and soon settled in. However, three years later there were apparently some complaints from patrons, most of which seem to have had little or no foundation.
Unfortunately it does sometimes happen that a very few patrons make complaints about a library cat, which causes problems for the far greater number who enjoy the animal's presence. In these litigious times a library board has to take these matters seriously, though, and in this case the board held a forum to invite public comment. A number of citizens of ages ranging from 12 to 70 spoke or submitted letters in favour of retaining Belle, whereas no one spoke or wrote on this occasion against her. An online petition was also set up for people to sign in Belle's favour. After quite lengthy investigations and deliberations, the matter was duly considered at a board meeting, at which to many people's relief a majority of the board voted in favour of keeping Belle at the library, while ensuring that policies and procedures were in place to safeguard her and the patrons' safety.
CHARLES CITY PUBLIC LIBRARY
In June 2000 the Charles City Public Library was temporarily housed in the Cedar Mall while renovations were made to the library building. During that time a very small calico kitten was found, apparently lost, by the back door of the library's temporary home. She was being harassed by birds and staff feared for the kitten's safety, so she was brought inside; then it didn't take long for this young cat to be adopted. She was named Miss Dickens and went with the library staff to the newly remodelled building. Her veterinary care was donated by a local vet. All appeared to be well until as so often happens concerns were raised about patrons having allergies to cat dander, and at one point an attempt was made to have Miss Dickens removed and adopted by a family. However, she ultimately ended up as the pet of library staff and spent most of her time in the staff area of the library.
In the summer of 2012 Miss Dickens began to have some health issues and developed a mass on her side which needed to be removed. She survived the surgery for its removal, but sadly she died at the vet's just a day or so later. She passed away on 31 October 2012 and is still much missed by staff.
CHESTERFIELD COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
A few years ago, if you had wound your way through the offices of the Central Library, you may have encountered Nyx, a precocious grey-blue cat with a few cream and white splashes, who inhabited the Collection Management section. From a distance Nyx appeared to be a perfectly normal and typical library cat, playing with her many toys, taking naps and keeping library employees company as they went about their day. From time to time, she even rode along on the library book carts.
But Nyx, named after the Greek goddess of night, is special. She was born, in May 2008, without eyes, so has been blind since birth and has had surgery to protect her empty eye sockets. She was fostered by a local humane society and then in October 2008 was adopted by the library department that became her home base. She's a compact little cat, with a kink in her tail, which might have been broken at some point. Her blindness is part of the reason why in 2008 county officials granted her permission to live in the library office Monday through Friday. At weekends, she stayed at the home of Ann Theis, her adoptive mom and the then administrator of Collection Management. 'We have a lot of cat lovers here in the library, and Nyx is a very people-oriented cat,' said Ann at the time. 'Most employees were enthusiastic about having her stay here with us. She settled in right away.'
Nyx's disability didn't prevent her from getting around the office with ease. She relied on her keen sense of hearing, and sensed when there was someone new in the room. She's fearless and used her sharp hearing to navigate around her office her head bobbles in order to track sounds. She sussed out the office area well and was generally found perched on her 'cat condo' (a prime sunny spot). She never hissed and was almost always purring, having a 'turbo purr' accented with a bit of a burble and trill. She does 'chat' with people and knows her name. Even employees who didn't previously consider themselves cat lovers warmed to this amazing cat. Staff members chipped in for food, toys and other things Nyx needed.
People from other departments often stopped by for a quick 'Nyx fix' a few minutes of purring, petting and playing. 'She's a great stress reliever,' said one library associate. 'She is a special-needs cat but only because she is special and we have come to need her!'
In 2012 Nyx's human, Ann, left the Chesterfield library to work 'across the river' at the Henrico County Public Library. The move seems to have marked Nyx's retirement from library life and she now (early 2018) lives happily at home with Ann, two other cats called Nick Danger (who acts as her 'seeing eye') and Ruthlessly, and a dog named Sookie.
Note: readers interested in Nyx's condition may like to read a book written about life with another blind cat, Homer from New York, and published in 2009. See the review and details of Homer's Odyssey in our Feline Folios section.
CLARK FORK BRANCH LIBRARY
Pete, 11 years old in 2014, used to be the 'greeter' at the Westwood Veterinary Clinic, but unfortunately he had a habit of beating up the canine clientele, so he was asked to move on! The library had recently lost their long-time resident Pewter, and the next cat taken on, Panther, 'kept checking out other openings for cat positions in the neighbourhood and one day didn't return from walkabout'. So there was a vacancy; Pete was recommended to Clark Fork, and took his job as Feline Public Relations Expert very seriously.
Being a library cat takes a special kind of feline, with strengths in greeting patrons and maintaining good relations with the public; Pete had his job description down to a T, keeping both younger and older patrons returning for the 'purr flirt', the 'lap flop' and the 'keyboard scramble'. He also knew just when to walk away and was enough of a tease to keep his fans coming back for more. He was patient with the younger set, usually good for a walk-through or to hold down your favourite chair, and was nearly always ready for a catty greeting or a serious cuddle although as he became older he needed a refreshing nap a bit more often. The library comments, 'At times Pete forgets himself and may be caught with his spectacles on, perusing the latest Daily Bee [the local East Bonner journal] or chittering at birds on the bird feeder but that's only at break-time.' The library invited passers-by to call in to meet Pete and his friendly staff.
Pete died in May 2016. This from the library Facebook page: 'Our beloved Pete, the Clark Fork Library cat, crossed the Rainbow Bridge last week. He was a fixture at the library for several years. Patrons and staff alike mourn his passing. He will be missed.'
Very many thanks to Sharon Wallace for information about and images of Pete.
DOUGLAS COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
A new library, opened on a former alfalfa field, had plenty of mice. Cats were the obvious answer, and it occurred to the staff that good names would be Baker and Taylor the name of the company supplying most of their books. Following a visit to a show they were impressed by Scottish Folds; so it was that in March 1983 grey-and-white Baker, about 18 months old and bought by the staff, joined the team and settled in quickly. The plan had always been to have two cats, and the book company agreed to buy the second one provided they could come to do the occasional photo shoot for publicity purposes. Taylor arrived in May 1983, a little younger than Baker at under a year. He took a few days to settle in, but the two cats got on well together and Baker showed him around. They didn�t like the photo shoots, but cooperated enough to get some good shots.
In early 1984 the first poster was produced and several cartons of them were taken to a library convention; by the first day they'd all gone and within six months all 30,000 had been snapped up and more were being demanded! The cats' fame spread rapidly; letters to them began to arrive and, before long, visitors were coming from far and wide to meet them. The numbers increased when more merchandise appeared T-shirts, shopping bags and the like and eventually paper-weights, notepads, coffee mugs and even wrist-watches. Baker and Taylor became known across America and much further afield too; they were probably even better known than Dewey of Iowa later was.
All went well until Baker unexpectedly fell ill in June 1994; his lungs were full of fluid and nothing could be done to help him. He was put to sleep, aged 12. He was cremated, and a ceremony was held as his ashes were buried under a tree and a plaque erected at the library on his 13th birthday in October. By the following June the tree had bloomed. Taylor missed Baker terribly and for a couple of months spent much of his time looking everywhere for him. He never really stopped looking for his friend, until in 1997 he himself was diagnosed with a tumour. By December that year it was obvious his time had come. He was 15. His ashes were buried next to Baker's and another plaque added. Many offers of new cats were received, but the library board, perhaps wisely, decided that the pair would be a very hard act to follow, and so no more cats were taken on.
There's an excellent account of the cats' lives and life at a small country library in The True Tails of Baker and Taylor, by director Jan Louch (who was largely responsible for them) and Lisa Rogak, published by Thomas Dunne Books / St Martin's Press, New York, 2016, ISBN 978-1-250-08107-0.
ELKO COUNTY LIBRARY
Even before a certain cat from Iowa made the name Dewey famous in the cat world, it was understandably something of a favourite for library cats. The handsome grey-tabby bearer of the name from the town of Elko in Nevada was adopted from an animal shelter in about 1993/94, and resided in the staff section of the library, but was always pleased to make a public appearance on request! He enjoyed sitting in windows to look outside, loved sharing desks with the staff they just worked around him and was a good stress-buster, seeming to sense when someone was having a bad day and giving them particular attention. He liked Monday mornings when everyone returned to work, but apparently they had to 'watch their lunch' as Dewey was partial to 'all people food except French fries.' In 2001 he appeared in Cat Fancy magazine.
Sadly this beautiful cat died in April 2010. He was very much missed, and according to reference librarian, Patrick Dunn, the place was not the same without Dewey: 'He gave it a sense of character, and it felt like a home.' We understand there were no plans to adopt another feline in the foreseeable future.
In 2014 Dewey was still remembered fondly. A library staffer, after seeing a cat sitting outside nearby who looked very like him, posted at Facebook and remarked that 'Dewey was a gray cat with a very expressive face. [He] has been gone for quite a few years now but he will always hold a special place in our hearts.' The Friends were still using Dewey's image for their Facebook profile in early 2019.
ESCONDIDO PUBLIC LIBRARY
L.C. (standing for Library Cat) arrived at the library in 1993 as a tiny kitten, probably no more than 3 months old, when a lady who was moving away brought her in and asked if the youngster could stay there. She did, and became a much loved library cat for a number of years, with patrons often stopping to pet her as they entered the library. In 2001, though, a man filed a claim against the city of Escondido for 1.5 million dollars after his assistance dog was clawed by the cat. He said that when he entered the library late in 2000 he and his dog Kimba were approached by her, and claimed that a fight between the animals ensued in which Kimba suffered scratches. The man claimed that his mixed-breed dog helped him because he suffered from a panic disorder and Kimba could sense his attacks before they actually happened, and that the fight caused him extreme mental anguish. The library was ordered by the City of Escondido not to discuss the incident, but said that it had had a dog-alert system in place for some time. The complainant said that he was not trying to have the cat removed from the library, but he wanted them to warn people with assistance animals better, and he wanted the city to pay for his pain and suffering.
Eventually the claim was dismissed as frivolous, but as a result of it L.C. was obliged to retire from the library. She was found a private home, where she settled in well, but died in October 2003. She is fondly remembered at the library; a patron even wrote a poem about her, which was inscribed on a plaque and kept on the circulation desk. There's also a commemorative brick for L.C. at the Escondido Humane Society.
A YouTube clip, apparently one of a series of short films under the general title of I am California of the Past made by the Media Arts Center of San Diego, tells L.C.'s story and includes a number of stills.
In 2016 former staffer Sally posted the following message to our own Facebook page: 'Thank you so much for your story about L.C., the Escondido (CA) library cat. I remember her very well, as I worked on the checkout desk at that time. L.C. worked there, too. What I remember most was her incredible patience with small children. She seemed to understand that children were apt to be a bit rough, and made allowances. After L.C. retired, she went to live with our supervisor, and peacefully enjoyed private life with two other cats. I missed her when she left, and I miss her still.'The Internet Archive has copies of L.C.'s FAQ page: this one dates from August 2001, shortly after she had retired.
EVERETT FREE LIBRARY
Pudders just wandered onto the library porch and took up residence in about 2006. When taken to the vet, it was found that she had been ill-treated. 'Taking in a stray goes along with the library mission of service to the community,' said Denise Plaskon, library director at the time, who believed that 'having a library cat around puts everyone in a good mood, and fosters interest in the library for the younger kids'. When a new director was appointed she was allergic to cats, so Pudders was adopted by a family. She died there a couple of years later. Now there's a library dog.
FAIRPLAY PUBLIC LIBRARY
The resident cat in this library was quite a celebrity in the town of Fairplay, with his image appearing on T-shirts, calendars, mugs and fridge magnets to help fundraising for a new library building. Judge Kitty was cream-coloured, with definite traces of Siamese, and as such was a great 'talker'. It was thought possible that he was the last descendant of the wild cats that roamed the town's streets for many years. He was taken on at the library as a kitten in 1995, when the librarian began to feed him as he seemed to be abandoned; he wouldn't come in until the weather turned cold but then he never left! He was very friendly and was a great favourite with patrons, especially the children. His name arose because the library was then in the old county courthouse and the cat used to hold court there. He had several favoured sleeping spots, including any available lap, and if it was sunny and he could persuade someone to open the door outside on the book drop. Going outside proved to be his undoing, however, as in November 2009 he was run over and killed by a truck outside the library.
Judge Kitty even had his own bank account, although he was not on the county payroll. Library patrons chipped in when he needed surgery for a digestive problem some years ago; and when someone stole the tin into which donations for his upkeep were regularly dropped, the local newspaper carried the story under the headline Judge Kitty Robbed.
A new library cat, from the Summit County Animal Shelter, was appointed in February 2010 following Judge Kitty's demise; he was named Buster Bailiff (Buster for short) a red tabby with one torn ear. At first described as 'a little shy but getting more affectionate and talkative', he turned out to be an easy-going and sweet-tempered cat, 'enjoying the quiet environment of the library and tolerating all manner of interruptions to his intellectual activities. When he needs more solitude, he has his special hideaways; he enjoys treats, being brushed, and is generally not interested in having his picture taken.' At one point, in July 2012, he went missing for six weeks; apart from some broken skin and an infection from his old collar he was fine when he returned, although he did spend a week of 'r & r' at a sanctuary to help him recover.
During 2013, however, it was announced that the library would be moving from the courthouse to new premises situated right on a busy street, and staff were concerned for the cat's safety if he got out or tried to get back to the old library, which would mean crossing a busy highway. It was reluctantly decided that Buster would need to find a new home and a plea was made on the Facebook page of the Friends of the Library. In September 2013 it was announced that a 'forever home� had been found, and a special open day event was held to bid him farewell.
Early in 2014, in response to an enquiry, we heard that Buster was 'a happy cat, doing great, and enjoying the serenity of his retirement from the hustle and bustle of the library move'.
FREEDOM PUBLIC LIBRARY
Louie is the resident male tabby cat in the library. Although he's unable to read books himself, despite the fact that he adores them, he looks for books that encourage library patrons to read to him. Two of his favourites are said to be Three Stories You Can Read to Your Cat and Three More Stories You Can Read to Your Cat, both written by Swan Miller and illustrated by True Kelley. Another activity he enjoys is checking out boxes. He is 'gentle with people of all ages and is especially patient with the youngest patrons'. There's a great selection of photos of Louie to be found at the library's blogspot (still available but no longer maintained) if you spend some time browsing through the archived entries.
Louie still worked at the library in early 2018, by which time he was 14 years old.
GLADSTONE PUBLIC LIBRARY
Back in 2004 Page, the tabby library cat at the Public Library in Gladstone, Oregon, was the cause of some issues with the security system because of her antics, as reported by Catherine Powers, then the library director. 'Between January and March, I bet I had half a dozen calls from the police that the security alarm had gone off,' said Powers. 'I'd have to drag myself out of bed at 1 a.m. or 3 a.m. to check the building and reset the alarm.'
She assumed that the alarm system was faulty, because the motion sensor was set too high for 10-pound Page to trigger. A company employee checked out the system, found nothing wrong with it and offered the only logical explanation. He said, 'I think that cat is sliding down the banister.' Powers assured him that was ridiculous.
A few weeks later, Page was strolling along the mezzanine stair railing when, just as pretty as you please, she turned and slid down the banister. 'We just all started laughing,' Powers said.
Sadly, Page died in 2008. We have not heard that a new library feline was taken on; but in 2014, replying at Facebook to someone commenting that they missed her, the library said they did too, adding that Page was 'a total library dude... so laid back.'
GRAND FORKS PUBLIC LIBRARY
The cat here originally belonged to the mother of a staff member, but when the lady had to move to accommodation that didn't allow cats, another librarian, Lori, 'begged her boss to allow the cat to live in the library'. Eventually permission was given, and Bubbles has lived there since 2006, with Lori as her principal caregiver. She spends much of her day in the 'perch' fixed up for her on the window sill in Lori's office, basking in the sun; she's been described as 'aloof' and can give the impression she's really not bothered about people! However, as with many library cats, she enjoys supervising from the circulation desk, and in the evening, at around 7:30 or 8, she wanders around the library and may allow herself to be petted by some patrons, although she prefers to be talked to and looked at rather than interacting with people she doesn't know. Many times a day there are people especially children who want to go to the office to see Bubbles. She's very good at the innocent 'What, me?' ploy (like when pretending she really wasn't batting at the fish from outside their tank), and staff believe she creates 'kitty mayhem' when the library's closed and she's the only one around!
A YouTube clip relates the story of her arrival at the library and shows some shots of her. Reaction to her presence has been overwhelmingly positive over the years, although one patron did complain of allergies. The Board considered other complaint requests and felt that because of the age of the library building there were other reasons for allergies. The issue was tabled and would be addressed again in the future if there were a new building or a remodel.
In late 2018 we were pleased to hear that Bubbles was still at the library. At 14 years old, she was said to be 'as much of a diva as she always was'.
GRAYSON COUNTY PUBLIC LIBRARY
Purrl Reedmoore is a beautiful pure-white cat who arrived at the library in March 2004. She's said to prowl like a 'white ghost', and is very good with children. In 2005 local artist Kathye Mendes donated to the library an original painting of Purrl with two young readers; a competition was held to create a short story around the picture and give it a name. Purrl had a scrapbook page, unfortunately no longer found at the library site but saved at the Internet Archive.
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Our featured feline at the head of the page is Socks, pictured in 2003 surveying his 'estate' in the early morning sunshine. Affectionately known as Soxy, he blossomed from a thin and hungry stray into a substantial and handsome cat who loved life and company, and his gentle ways endeared him to many friends. He is no longer with us, but you can read more from his human companion here.
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Page created July 2010 (partially from an earlier page, 2006), with later revisions and additions