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American Library Cats 3

Libraries O–Z

Libraries A–G  |  Libraries H–N

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 other 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) 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.

Entries arranged alphabetically by library name

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Library cat Trixie, late of Ocean Shores Public Library, Ocean Shores, Washington state

Library cats Olivia and Waldo, formerly of Ocean Shores Public Library, Ocean Shores, Washington state
Library cat Olivia, formerly of Ocean Shores Public Library, Ocean Shores, WA
Library cat Waldo, formerly of Ocean Shores Public Library, Ocean Shores, Washington state
Library cats Waldo and Olivia, formerly of Ocean Shores Public Library, Ocean Shores, WA

Ocean Shores, Grays Harbor County, Washington State

Located on a spit of land on the Olympic Peninsula, the town of Ocean Shores created its library-cat position in 1999 after a survey revealed that 98 per cent of patrons who responded favoured a furry staff member. Michelle Olson, library clerk, presented the results to the library's board of trustees. During the meeting, a member left to make a phone call, returned and announced that an applicant would be arriving within five minutes. The calico kitten had been dumped beside the road. 'It took less than a minute to know that she was the one,' said Olson. 'She let each person hold and pet her without complaint, purring all the while.' They named the black, white and peach-splotched kitten Trixie, in honour of Trixie Belden, the fictional girl detective in the children's mystery series. Trixie had her own chequebook to pay for food and veterinary bills, and as with many library cats, patrons could contribute to a 'feed the kitty' donation tin.

Trixie charmed Ocean Shores for six years, greeting visitors, even pushing the library into the international spotlight when a news team from Japan visited. But one day in 2005 when the library was opened, Trixie was found dead. The town grieved and the library director said 'no more cats': the pain of the loss was too great.

But slowly pressure from patrons for a new cat increased, so when two years later Michelle visited an animal shelter and came across two especially friendly cats, the decision was made and Trixie's successors were appointed. Waldo was an active young male grey tabby with amber eyes, who loved attention, while Olivia was described as a 'portly' black female, who was quieter and more of a loner. The two were devoted to each other. They were also named after characters in children's books, and a glimpse of them can be seen in a short video dating from early 2009 at The Seattle Times.

However, towards the end of 2009 everything changed at Ocean Shores when the powers-that-be announced severe budget cuts, affecting the library's viability. In spite of protest and many representations from the public, it appears to have actually closed for a time, then reopened but with reduced hours and more staffing by volunteers. The library cats could not remain while it was closed, so Waldo and Olivia were adopted out: photos at the time showed them looking contented in their new home.

We had no further news of the pair despite attempting to find out, but then the Friends of the Library's newsletter of January 2013 included a short piece about all three former library cats at Ocean Shores, with information provided by retired director Judy Stull. It seems that Waldo became ill at some point and sadly died, and Olivia was re-adopted to another new home.

Website | Facebook

Library cat T. S. Eliot, formerly of Oldham County Public Library, La Grange, Kentucky

Library cat Tiberius, Oldham County Public Library, LaGrange, KY
Library cat Jasper, Oldham County Public Library, LaGrange, Kentucky

LaGrange, Oldham County, Kentucky

(T.S.) Eliot joined the library in 2004 when it was still in its previous premises, but there were some allergy issues and it was felt best that he move out and live with the library director. He's been there since 2005 and (in mid-2014) is still doing well.

The library moved to a new building in 2010, and it wasn't long before what has become a familiar story played out: a small kitten was found abandoned by one of the staff. He was soon adopted and named Jasper. Sometime later he was joined by another cat, who wandered in through the doors one cold February night; he was called Tiberius, or to give him his full name, 'James Tiberius Kitty'. No one claimed him or answered advertisements about him, so he too was adopted. The cats were not library residents, but often came in for work days in the administrative offices, travelling home in the evenings and at weekends and holiday times. They were both very friendly and well socialised and loved everyone, but seemed to particularly enjoy being with children. They were popular when at the library and received many visitors; at other times they stayed very busy putting their MLS degrees (Masters in Library Sleeping) to good use!

In late 2018 Jasper and Tiberius were reported as living happily with one of the librarians, but they no longer go to the library.

Many thanks to Bethany Morse for supplying the original information and images of Jasper and Tiberius.
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Library cat Orphan Annie - Ontario County Records and Archives Center/RAIMS, Canandaigua, New York state

Bailey - Ontario County Department of Records, Canandaigua, NY
Library cat Basil - Ontario County Department of Records, Canandaigua, NY
Library cats Bailey and Basil - Ontario County Department of Records, Canandaigua, New York state

Canandaigua, New York State

When the much loved resident cat of this section of the Records, Archives and Information Management Services (RAIMS) in New York State, Orphan Annie Raims, died in June 2009 after several years' service, the then director Dr Hans Finke said his staff became depressed and it was no longer a pleasure to come to work.

It was decided a new feline presence was needed, and so from photos provided by the Happy Tails Humane Society of Ontario County, Basil (male) and Bailey (female) were chosen as 'rodent officers in training'. They were the same age, although not from the same litter. Dr Finke said the office atmosphere improved enormously after their arrival!

In late 2018 the library reported that Basil had died during 2017, and so only Bailey remained there.

For several years an image of Basil and Bailey as kittens was included on the department's home page, and they were listed among the staff as 'Rodent Control Officers and honorary County Public Relations Officers', but this has not been the case since a revamp of the site. There also used to be a memorial page for Annie, and a slide show of Basil and Bailey as relatively new arrivals exploring their work environment, but neither is now available on the current site. However, both are preserved at the Internet Archive — see links below.

Our thanks to Dr Finke for originally sending images and information about Basil and Bailey.
Website | Facebook
Annie's memorial page (archived copy) | Basil & Bailey slide show (archived copy)

Library cat Paddy - Pacelli High School Library, Stevens Point, Wisconsin
Library cat Paddy - Pacelli High School Library, Stevens Point, Wisconsin

Stevens Point, Portage County, Wisconsin

Paddy — full name Patrick — was for a long time the part-time library cat at the school. Although missing one eye, the 11-year-old Maine Coon didn't allow that to interfere with his love of books. Aside from being an avid fan of Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, Paddy could often be found with his nose buried in T.S. Eliot's Old Possum's Book of Practical Cats. He was also said to be quite fond of the mysteries penned by Elizabeth Peters — he simply couldn't get enough of the Egyptian cats who pop up in all her stories!

However, in 2010 a new school principal decided 'no cats', so Paddy took well-earned retirement and went to live full time with librarian Kathleen Riley and 'a bunch of other cats and dogs'. For a short time he had a blog where there are photos of him and some of his feline friends — still available but no further entries for Paddy for some years.

School website

Library cat Browser - Pine River Public Library, Pine River, Minnesota
Browser - Pine River Public Library, Pine River, MN
Browser - Pine River Public Library, Pine River, MN

Pine River, Cass County, Minnesota

Browser (or in full, Browser B. Katz) was a large and handsome black cat, named from a competition among library patrons, and was said to love eating! He lived at the Pine River branch from 2002, and during that time moved with it to a new building. He had a blog from 2006 where he reported on library news and said he loved being with the children at storytime. There was a Browser Mini Me that travelled around the town to be in a different location each week: people could tell the library staff where they saw the Mini Me and receive one of 20 collectable, limited-edition Browser Trading Cards (but only one per person per week!). Browser mugs and Little Browser key rings were for sale at the library, and his likeness as Flat Browser visited other libraries — among others, Flat Browser called on Tober at Thorntown, Indiana and Elsie at St Helena in California (see entries for both below) — and he was even on a cruise.

In fact Browser was always very busy, as he went out with a camera taking photographs sometimes if the mood took him, he attended book fairs, wrote a column in the quarterly e-magazine Our Neck of the Woods and was also featured in other magazines, and he was the Library Journal's Cat of the Month in June 2013. Perhaps his biggest thrill was in 2012 when he was filmed for a featurette/documentary called If Only Cats Could Talk, directed by Signe Veje who showed his appreciation by supplying Browser with a very impressive cat tree to lounge on. Also featuring penpal Frankie from California, there was a screening in Pine River in 2013 and it was entered into film festivals around the world. With such a hectic life Browser needed a breather sometimes, and when on vacation with branch manager Muriel Erickson he enjoyed the odd car trip out as he could do a little exploring or maybe meet a few new friends, but mostly he just chilled out.

Of course Browser had his own Facebook page, there are a number of clips of him at YouTube and also a set of images at Flickr. You can see that Browser was quite a celebrity cat!

At the end of October 2018 Browser had his 17th birthday! As befitted an older cat he had been spending weekends and holidays at branch manager Muriel's home, where he had her cat Graycie as a companion. Graycie is a grey-and-white polydactyl cat, 15 years old. At the end of November Browser took his final leave of the library to spend a well-deserved retirement with Muriel and Graycie.

Update: Browser died just before Christmas 2020, aged 19. The Pine and Lakes Echo Journal published a comprehensive article telling his story, and there's also an extensive clip of images at YouTube in Browser's memory.

Browser links: Browser's blog | Browser B Katz at Facebook | Flickr photos | YouTube clips |
Browser's companion Graycie at Facebook
Library links: Website | Facebook

Andy Cat, late of Pitts Library, Andrew College, Cuthbert, Georgia
No-No (Eudora) the cat, of Pitts Library, Andrew College, Cuthbert, Georgia
Library cats Cuddles and No-No, Pitts Library, Andrew College, Cuthbert, GA

Cuthbert, Randolph County, Georgia

This library in Georgia is part of Andrew College, and until 2010 one of the two cats in residence was Andy Cat (top), a handsome ginger-and-white boy, named after the Pitts Library Card Catalog. Born feral, it was the best part of a year before he was socialised, but he learned to love being petted by a few 'special' individuals. His favourite pastime was sitting on the counter watching the students, and he was said to entertain the faculty, staff and students throughout the day. Sadly Andy died in 2010, aged only seven.

Eudora (her 'official' name, after the college's only female president, Eudora Hamilton Andes), a beautiful Siamese affectionately known as No-No, arrived in 2005. She liked exploring every corner of the library and sleeping among the books, and enjoyed being petted and playing with the students.

She missed her companion Andy, so the library decided to find her another playmate. Black-and-white Cuddles arrived as a kitten, and after two or three weeks he and No-No were firm friends, although they didn't like sharing their food. When we checked in 2013, Cuddles, aged three, was said to love being held or occupying a lap.

Update late 2018: for reasons we don't know, the cats no longer live at the library; they were adopted by the librarians and went to live with them. However, the library is said to be still 'cat-friendly', and some cat food is kept handy in case any strays turn up!

Our thanks to Director of Libarary Services, Karan Pittman, for updating us with the feline news in 2013.
Andrew College | Library page | Library at Facebook | College at Twitter

Library cat Quincy, formerly of Portsmouth Public Library, Ohio
Library cat Ashley, formerly of Portsmouth Public Library, Ohio

Portsmouth, Scioto County, Ohio

There were two cats at the Portsmouth Library until mid-2010, when there were concerns about allergies from some patrons and staff. Quincy arrived in 2006 as a stray, found by an employee. He was quite young, probably not yet a year old — a sweet and affectionate cat, who greeted everyone and absolutely loved children. Ashley was a kitten found during November 2007 in the rubbish bins behind the library; she was only a kitten of 6 or 8 weeks, a bit shy but basically friendly. Quincy liked having his picture taken, Ashley not so much.

A former member of the library staff took over both the cats when they had to leave, so they were kept together; the family already had other animals, and the library checks periodically to ask how they're doing. They're missed and there are still children who ask about them; but although they were great to have around, it was felt that the health concerns expressed had to be acknowledged.

Many thanks to Carolyn Cottrell, Local History Supervisor at the library, for information and images.
Website | Facebook | Twitter

Library cat Lucky, formerly of Pretty Prairie Public Library, Kansas
Library cat Lucky, formerly of Pretty Prairie Public Library, KS

Skinny, adopted from near Pretty Prairie Public Library, Kansas

Pretty Prairie, Reno County, Kansas

In 2008 a kitten was involved in a road accident near the library and was rescued by library staff, who got her injuries treated and helped her to recover. Named Lucky because of her good fortune, she was then adopted as library cat. She turned out to be a playful cat — but when she didn't want to play she made her wishes known by biting! Although she never did actually bite any of the library patrons, it came close sometimes and it was thought better not to take further chances. After some three years at the library, therefore, Lucky went to live with library director Patti Brace and her other cats, where she has adjusted very well.

In an alley behind the library two other, semi-feral cats lived, a mother and her kitten. When she was about 3 months old the kitten hitched a ride, it's thought, and ended up outside Patti's home too! She was brought in, tamed and named Bubba Jean. A bit later her mother was brought in too — she's called Skinny — so now all three cats previously at the library have a home together. They have a 'doggy door' and a covered walkway to a tree in the back yard with tree houses — they love it!

With many thanks to Patti for the information and images of the cats.
Website | Facebook

Library cat Oliver - Richland Public Library, Iowa

Richland, Keokuk County, Iowa

In January 2005 on a cold icy night a skinny little cat with an injured shoulder showed up at the Richland Library. The skinny little thing, named Oliver, grew into a twenty-pound (9 kg) permanent fixture at the library, venturing out only when necessary to go to the vet or get his fur trimmed. Patrons loved to play with him, and sometimes would be startled by a paw coming through as they reached for a book from the shelves. Nearly six years later, though, in December 2010, he was reported as having been adopted by a local family; we don't know the reason.


Library cat Paige, formerly of Round Lake Area Public Library, Illinois
Library cat Turner, formerly of Round Lake Area Public Library, Illinois
Library cat MisterE, formerly of Round Lake Area Public Library, Illinois

Round Lake, Lake County, Illinois

It was in 2005 that an orange-and-white kitten was abandoned in the library car park, and was found living in the nearby woods and sleeping under the toolshed. Staff had been feeding her, and when a new library director came she was asked whether the cat could be adopted. So the youngster, now named Paige, came to be the first of the library cats; but she was lonely, and before long a second female, a black-and-white kitten named Turner, was taken on. The pair became firm friends and great morale boosters for staff. They lived in the staff area, so there was no problem with possible allergies among patrons, although they did come into the public area for special events. Still, they received many visitors and were featured in the local press and on a cable TV show in the area.

Things went so well that some months later a third homeless kitten was introduced; he was a male and was called MisterE. Now the library had a large 'cat tree', strategically placed scratching posts and cat toys scattered about — and people learned to type one-handed when a cat wanted attention! There were 42 staff at the library, and most loved the cats. However, at some point — we aren't sure exactly when but several years ago, and we don't know the reason — the library Board decided to have a cat free environment. The cats were found good homes with staff members and from all reports are happy and have taken well to family life. All were alive and doing well in early 2014.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Library cat Elsie, of St Helena Public Library, California
Library cat Elsie, of St Helena Public Library, California
Library cat Elsie, of St Helena Public Library, California
Library cat Elsie, of St Helena Public Library, CA May 2022 tribute to library cat Elsie on her passing, St Helena Public Library, CA

St Helena, Napa County, California

Elsie ended up at the Napa Animal Shelter when her human family lost their home and could no longer keep her. She had been there for 4 months when Jennifer Baker, director of St Helena Public Library, came by looking for a cat to help with a mouse problem at the library. Elsie seemed the right one for the job, and after checking with the authorities she took up library residence in July 2012. She was thought to be 8-9 years old, and 'made herself at home,' said Jennifer. 'She's been a really good fit.'

Elsie had several favoured sleeping spots and places to hang out, including the front desk. She liked people — except toddlers that chased her — but wasn't a lap cat; nevertheless, as often happens in these situations, some people came to the library just to meet her. She had a very popular Facebook page, with thousands of followers from around the world. In December 2014 Elsie had surgery for a hernia, but was soon back at work doing her rounds.

Very important — there were no complaints from patrons about Elsie's presence, steps having been taken to minimise any possible allergy problems. Also important: Elsie's needs were gladly funded by the Friends of the Library, so there could be no issues about taxpayer dollars being used. All in all, everything worked out well for everyone — and the mice kept away.

In late 2018 Elsie was still at the library and posting on her own Facebook page from time to time.

Update: Sadly, Elsie's death was announced in late May 2022, at the age of 18 years and having been resident library cat for 10 of those years. The announcement said, 'Our hearts break as we announce the death of our beloved library cat Elsie, who leaves us at the grand old age of 18. Staff feel her loss greatly and are struggling with the death of our favourite co-worker.' In January 2023 the library posted that she had been included in Baker & Taylor's annual cat calendar, and said, 'We are so proud.'

Website | Elsie at Facebook | Twitter

Elsie's Job Description
The library cat is a full-time, permanent position with the St. Helena Public Library.
Under direction, Elsie:
   • persuades mice to find other accommodation
   • greets staff in the morning
   • gives a daily report of night-time activities
   • helps to unpack boxes
   • investigates file drawers as needed
   • welcomes library visitors, and conducts regular 'management by walking around'
   • dictates bi-monthly Friends of the Library newsletter column
Working conditions require prolonged napping, jumping, stretching and occasional bursts of speed in the performance of daily activities.
Remuneration includes free room and board, daily brushing, full medical plan, adoring public, fawning staff, the occasional treat, and general celebrity lifestyle.

Library cat Maggie, late of Salem Community Library, Wisconsin
Library cat Maggie, late of Salem Community Library, Wisconsin Library cat Maggie, late of Salem Community Library, Wisconsin

Salem, Kenosha County, Wisconsin

On the eve of Thanksgiving in November 1995, a very cold night, a member of the library staff rescued a stray cat from a pond. She took her home, warmed her up, and next day took her in to work at the library as a temporary measure while she decided what to do. But the cat so charmed everyone that they decided to keep her as library cat, and she became an important member of the staff. She was named Maggie, although she was often referred to as their 'princess'.

Maggie usually lived in the Technical Services area, a part of the library not open to the public, but sometimes she would mosey out into the public area to greet patrons, usually shortly before closing time. She also became 'tour guide' on the library's Children's Corner internet page (now discontinued in that form). She became a well-known and much loved fixture at the library for the next 15 years or so until, early in 2010, one of the library board members complained about her presence and wanted her to be evicted. The reason was not so much for the usual one given of causing allergies to patrons, although it was said she might do so, but because this person objected to Maggie being supported by taxpayers' dollars, and said that cats didn't belong in libraries anyway.

The story was picked up by the local paper, the Kenosha News, which also published online — resulting in a storm of protest from readers — and was also covered in television news. The consensus of the board was that in fact many libraries had cats — notable Dewey of Iowa — and that as Maggie had been there for 15 years she deserved to live out her days there. She was quite old, on a special diet, and in any case rarely went into the public part of the establishment. Another board member personally paid a vet's bill.

It's not clear how things would have ended, but in fact Maggie took the matter into her own paws, as it were, and passed away in June 2010. Her age was uncertain, but was estimated at between 15 and 18 years. Her passing was marked on the library's website — and unfortunately there will be no further cats at Salem.

Website | Facebook

Library cat Andy, of Schoharie Free Association Library, Schoharie, New York State
Library cat Andy, of Schoharie Free Library, NY State
Library cat Andy, of Schoharie Free Library, New York State

Schoharie, New York State

For a number of years ginger cat Andy visited the library and charmed patrons, having strolled in one summer and announced his intention to visit whenever he pleased! Originally rescued as a kitten from a busy road, he lived with a neighbourhood family just a couple of doors away from the library. He grew into a very sociable animal and loved to be around people, and whenever there was a library event, he made it his business to go and see what was going on. Patrons let him in and out of the door; he'd been photographed by visitors from abroad and has his own set of photos at Flickr (link below).

His visits were suspended for quite a while after Hurricane Irene struck in August 2011 and caused the library to be flooded; however, he returned the following May to see how renovation work was proceeding and check out the new carpeting. By 2014 he'd slowed down a bit, and also didn't stay in any one place very long any more, perhaps having had his confidence shaken by the hurricane.

Late in 2014 we heard the sad news that Andy had passed away in November, aged 14. The library requested gifts of food and toys to fill his basket on the circulation desk, to be donated to the Animal Shelter of Schoharie Valley in his memory, 'to help make another cat's life as happy as Andy's.' See the tribute to Andy at the library's blog.

Website | Blog | Facebook | Flickr | Andy's album at Flickr

Library cat Neo - Seaside Public Library, Seaside, Oregon

Seaside, Clatsop County, Oregon

Seaside is a town of some 6,000 people in Clatsop County, in the western US state of Oregon. Beautiful white cat Neo came to the library in about 2003. After moving into a new building in 2008, some staff and patrons experienced symptoms consistent with 'sick building syndrome' — but the director and city management dismissed them or attributed them to the flu season, pollen or cat dander. Tests conducted by professionals, though, determined that the main causes were inadequate air exchange and filtering. The expense of correcting these issues was deemed too great. In spite of no evidence that Neo was to blame, the director stated that the cat must go. A member of the staff was given two weeks to find her a new home. Articles appeared in local papers and Neo was relocated to an assisted living centre.

Late in 2010 the centre felt it could not continue to keep Neo, because of staff shortages. At a library board meeting in early November the case was put for the cat to return to her proper home in the library, but in spite of strong support from staff and patrons the board was adamant that she could not return. It seemed unjust, as she was not to blame for the library's problems. However, we were delighted to hear that Neo was subsequently found a good, permanent home away from the library.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Dewey - Seymour Public Library, Auburn, New York state
Library cat Paige - Seymour Public Library, Auburn, NY

Auburn, Cayuga County, New York State

Librarian Mr Stephen Erskine told us in mid-2006 that Seymour Library's cats Dewey (top) and Paige — known locally as 'the urchins' — were in fine shape and were about 4 years old then, having been adopted as kittens in 2002. They lived 'a pampered life in the literary world'. Nicknamed 'Little Dewey' and 'Little Missus', both cats enjoyed a brushing and a rub-down; Paige, in particular, needed only to see the brush to come running! Auburn is the county seat of Cayuga County in New York State.

By late 2018 the library reported that both Dewey and Paige had died, but gave no further details.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Library cat Dewey Readmore Books - Spencer Public Library, Spencer, Iowa - see also Famous Felines section

Spencer, Clay County, Iowa

As many cat lovers will know, the story of Spencer's beloved library cat, Dewey Readmore Books, 'went global' after the publication in 2008 of former library director Vicki Myron's book about him. But Dewey had a separate page all of his own here at Purr 'n' Fur prior to his death, as he'd already achieved a certain fame during his lifetime and even then was the best-known of American library cats.

Read about Dewey in our Famous Felines section: the page has further photos and links to more information.

Library cat Spooky - Swansea Free Public Library, Swansea, Massachusetts

Library cat Penny, late of Swansea Free Public Library, Swansea, Massachusetts
Library cat Penny, late of Swansea Free Public Library, Swansea, MA

Swansea, Bristol County, Massachusetts

A cat who lived to be 19 and was a real favourite at Swansea was Spooky (top), who died in 2004. She liked to spend much of her time at the circulation desk greeting patrons; when she got tired she would retreat to a favoured chair or to a warm spot like the top of the photocopier. She was quite a local celebrity, featuring in newspaper and TV reports.

Her successor was Penny, a handsome grey tabby taken on during 2005. She also liked the circulation desk, enjoyed greeting patrons and loved spending time with the staff. Her hobbies were said to include chewing elastic bands and fake plastic plants, chewing the long rubber phone cable, and playing on the stairs leading down to the children's room. Penny was also a great purrer.

Penny was unwittingly at the centre of a row early in 2013 when a man complained that he had an allergy and her presence infringed his 'rights'. The patrons came quickly and in large numbers to her defence and organised a petition, while the Library Board stood by Penny as well. The man, surprised by the strength of feeling, dropped his complaint, but said there should be no more cats when Penny died.

So Penny stayed at the library, but as things turned out she did not have all that much longer there; the library announced with great sadness that she had died in March 2014. She's very much missed by staff and patrons alike.

Website | Facebook | Twitter

Library cat Tober - Thorntown Public Library, Thorntown, Indiana
Tober - Thorntown Public Library, Thorntown, IN

Library cat Chance - Thorntown Public Library, Thorntown, Indiana
Chance - Thorntown Public Library, Thorntown, IN

Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana

Previously an outdoor cat, handsome red tabby Tober (upper two images) moved indoors to become Boss Library Cat in November 2008. His name derives from Oc-Tober, when he first appeared on the scene. He liked catnip, tummy rubs, treats, soft chairs, and naps. There's a very entertaining blog (link below) from where there are links to many of his feline blogging friends and also many great photos of him, some of which have been used here. Tober frequently commented on how he needs to discipline the human staff after various misdemeanours, and generally keep them in order!

He had his own business cards, was mentioned in Cat Fancy magazine, and was the 2014 Baker & Taylor Calendar Cover-Cat.

Sadly and unexpectedly, Tober died from cancer just a month after the seventh anniversary of his coming into the library; staff and patrons alike greatly mourned his loss. See his farewell post.

It was decided not to actively look for a new feline resident — but in March 2016 a staff member came across a dehydrated, wounded and severely underweight ginger cat. She took him to the veterinary clinic, where he spent several days recovering and receiving treatment, before spending a month recuperating in an office at the library so that he could be monitored and get used to human company and attention. He was named Chance (lower two images), as he had a second chance at a good life, and he proved to be a worthy successor to Tober. In late April, having more than doubled in weight, he started 'work'; he's a friendly cat, loves people and can even tolerate the attention of several children at once! He spends much of the day snoozing in staff offices, but between naps he's often trailing after library staff, snacking on treats, interacting with patrons or playing with his toys. He's also a fiend for tap water, so he gets a few drinks a day from the tap! Chance has taken over Tober's blog, where he's described as Thorntown's 'Library Cat in Training'. He's also included on the library site's staff page.

In late 2018 Chance was still enjoying life at the library, greeting staff each morning and acting as 'meeter and greeter' to patrons. Apart from treats and belly-rubs, he especially likes a weekly book club for adults with learning difficulties and attends meetings regularly. The library admits, however, that he isn't such a good blogger as Tober was!

Many thanks to director Christine Sterle for the 2018 update.
Website | Facebook | Blog: The Adventures of Tober (and now Chance)

Dewey - Umatilla Public Library, Lake County, Florida
Library cat Page - Umatilla Public Library, Lake County, FL

Umatilla, Lake County, Florida

Umatilla is a small settlement of some 2,500 inhabitants in Lake County, Florida. The public library did have two cats, Dewey (top) and Page. However, they became victims of budget cuts and a decree by the town authorities that no animals are to be housed on business premises.

Dewey was a very pale-coloured longhair of uncertain age; she originally came to the library because her mistress was unable to go on caring for her. Dewey wasn't too keen on meeting the public, preferring to remain in the offices at the back where she could stretch out and look glamorous; she loved the librarians, though, and was always keen to 'help' them with their paperwork whenever possible.

Page was a mischievous youngster of some 3 years old in 2006, rescued from the nearby Highway 19 when just a few days old. As seen from the photos she used to find the computer quite fascinating and was always ready to lend a helping hand when it was in use; she was even known to 'type' on the keyboard and watch the letters move across the screen!

The two cats generally got on well, and despite the occasional spat would cuddle up together to sleep. Sometimes one or other managed to set off the library alarm system, keeping the alarm company on their toes (but they were very understanding). When they could no longer remain at the library the retired head librarian took them in. By 2010 Page had died, but Dewey was said to be 'as happy as a clam' in her new home.

Our thanks to librarian, now library director, Laurel Gainer for originally supplying the photos and information about the cats in 2006, and updating us with news in 2010.

Pages the library cat, Valley Center, Kansas, US
Pages the library cat, Valley Center, KA, USA

Valley Center, Sedgwick County, Kansas

Pages came to live at the Valley Center Public Library (aka Edna Buschow Memorial Library) in June 2010, after she was found outside the door one day and no one came to claim her. There was some controversy about whether she should stay, but she had many supporters and following much deliberation by the library board, it was agreed she could remain. After she'd been living there for some time, the local news station wanted to come and do a story, so she got lots of attention and tons of treats from library patrons! There's a delightful news clip of her at YouTube.

After her TV debut Pages received quite a bit of fan mail, and was able to meet many new patrons who came in to see her. Inspired by her fame, she started a blog so that her fans could see what she was up to. She's always there to greet staff when they arrive in the morning, and spends most days lounging in her favourite chair, or warming her fur in the sun — that is, unless it's time to walk up and down the bookshelves to check things out, or to play a game of tag with one of the patrons. She seems to love living in the library, and has certainly proved to be a great attraction for many patrons.

In early 2014 director Janice Sharp told us that Pages was still going strong and, as one might guess, she ruled the roost! Staff were constantly amazed that she could distinguish who she wanted to interact with just by the sound of them, even before they entered the building. In July 2014 she was featured in an article by the The Wichita Eagle.

In July 2018 the library moved to new premises associated with a community centre, and the city council decided that the building would be animal-free (except for service animals). Library cat Pages therefore went to live with director Janice, where she was said to be comfortable and happy.

Many thanks to Janice and also to Erin Tormey for providing original information about Pages.
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Library cat Browser, of White Settlement Public Library, Texas

Browser, of White Settlement Public Library, Texas

White Settlement, Tarrant County, Texas

Browser, a grey tabby cat, was taken on at the library in 2010 as a kitten, to help deal with a rodent problem. All went well for six years and the cat was very popular, especially with children, until a city council member in summer 2016 moved at a meeting that animals shouldn't be allowed in municipal buildings and Browser should be evicted. (He was apparently upset that a council worker hadn't been allowed to take his puppy to work.) A vote went against Browser, who was given 30 days to be relocated. However, when the news got out there was a huge outcry, not just from the town or from Texas, but from Browser fans in many countries around the world! The objection was withdrawn, and the mayor agreed that Browser should have a job for life at the library, or for as long as he wanted it.

Website | Facebook (not used lately, as of late 2018)

Library cat Agie - Willamina Public Library, Willamina, Oregon
Agie - Willamina Public Library, Willamina, OR

Willamina, Yamhill and Polk Counties, Oregon

Agie, short for 'Agatha Christie', was the resident calico cat at the library in the town of Willamina, where she had been since 1995. She loved snoozing on the newspapers often left spread out on reading tables, but was said also to like being surrounded by books featuring felines! Agie was another library cat who caused controversy simply by being there. At the end of 2005 the city council decided — without consultation — that Agie should be evicted, together with two hamsters that were also loved by local children.

A determined and sustained battle was mounted by Agie's many supporters and, following a temporary reprieve, the council finally agreed that the cat (but not the hamsters) could remain in post for the rest of her life. However, late in 2010 she was accused of biting a young child, and the library was given two weeks to find her a new home. It seemed a strange accusation, as Agie was very used to children, was declawed and had hardly any remaining teeth. We were delighted to learn, though, that she went to a new and loving home out in the country — after the library had given her a farewell party.

Agie loved her home in the woods with other cats for companionship, and took particular responsibility for 'training' a young kitten by the name of Tuffy, but in July 2013 came news that she had passed away peacefully in her sleep; she now rests in a plot overlooking the valley and mountains. After she retired Agie was remembered on a tile placed near the library on Willamina's Main Street; it bears the legend 'Agie the Library Cat, 1995-retired 2010'.

Website | Facebook

Library cat Squeakers, late of Willet Memorial Library, Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia

Library cat Libris, of Willet Memorial Library, Wesleyan College, Macon, Georgia
Library cat Libris, of Willet Memorial Library, Wesleyan College, Macon, GA

Macon, Bibb County, Georgia

The library — full name the Lucy Lester Willet Memorial Library — is part of the prestigious Wesleyan College for women. Ever since 1985, Squeakers (top) was cat in residence; in her earlier years she would spend much of her time (when not hunting in the extensive grounds, that is) on her perch at the top of the library steps, so that she could greet students as they entered, and receive a stroke or a scratch under the chin in return. For the last nine years or so of her life she spent more of her time indoors, and gained a new vantage point — a soft chair near the entrance, so she could continue her greeting duties. Students came and students went, but Squeakers was there to greet them all and give comfort and friendship when needed.

This library matriarch died in April 2008, to be very much mourned by all the many who had encountered her. A memorial stone was dedicated to her in the library courtyard, placed in the shade of a beautiful Japanese maple where the cat spent many happy hours. A memorial service was held for her near the tree, officiated by the college chaplain, Reverend Bill Hurdle, and with more than thirty faculty, staff and students attending. Squeakers was also lovingly remembered with gifts to the library and to the college.

Another library feline called Libris was Squeakers' successor, a young tuxedo cat who had a lot to live up to but looked as though he quickly became a favourite too!

The Wesleyan felines were mentioned at a college page (now no longer available, but see link below to an Internet Archive copy), but note that some of the information about other library cats is out of date. While Squeakers was alive there was a further page, A Day in the Life of Squeakers, and again the link below is to an archived copy.

The library didn't respond to our requests for information in late 2018, so we don't know whether Libris was still there.

Wesleyan College | Library page | Facebook | Twitter
Wesleyan's Library Cats (archived copy) | A Day in the Life of Squeakers (archived copy)

Most images of Libris courtesy of Courtney McGough at Flickr where they can be seen full-sized.

Hannah the cat - late of William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, Los Angeles, California
Hannah - late of William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, Los Angeles, CA
Belinda in the foreground with Mr B sitting beyond - William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA

Los Angeles, California

Part of UCLA, the University of California, Los Angeles, and housing one of the most important collections of 17th- and 18th-century English literature in the world, this library could be the record-holder for library cats — in late 2010 there were five plus an occasional visitor. The library is situated in its own grounds surrounded by a brick wall, so is well suited to being the cats' home. Until recently there were two others: Clarissa, who died of old age in November 2009, and Hannah, who died in December 2010. Both are buried in the grounds next to Mr Clark's Boston terrier [I wonder what the dog would have thought of that! — Ed.]. As the principal 'greeter', Hannah (top two images), a friendly cat named after eighteenth-century playwright, novelist and poet Hannah More, will be much missed — see the memorial post at the library's blog (link below). She was the only really domesticated cat in the group, the others being semi-feral, and she was that rare beast, a female red tabby. Hannah was known for interrupting conferences and concerts alike if she felt she wasn't getting enough attention, and would force her way into the library at times if she wanted to visit the staff.

Molly is Hannah's daughter, but is shyer; she's named after the character Moll Flanders. Then there is Belinda, mother of Sophia (after a character in Tom Jones), and Mr B, who always likes to stay close to his mother. Belinda, now probably around 15 years old, was also Clarissa's mother. The fifth cat is Jett, who's jet-black, and then there is occasional visitor Shandy. He might become more permanent now that there are 'vacancies' following the loss of Hannah and Clarissa.

Update, March 2014: Since we wrote the entry above, sadly several of the cats have died; Molly, Belinda and Mr B have all passed away. There's one new cat on the block; he's called Oscar.

Website | Hannah memorial | Facebook

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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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