Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Library Cats

As the holiday season approaches, many of us have gifts, food, and family on the mind. And, if you fit the "library person" stereotype as well as I do, you include your furry relatives in the family category as well. How could I not with this weird creature in my house?

Yes, I did use the same photo of my cat twice with different text on this blog. 

There's just something about books and cats that seem to go well together, and the existence of "library cats" proves it! In the distant past, cats were used in libraries to keep away rodents and other pests, but these days they stick around simply to nap, patrol the stacks, be our mascots, and make our patrons feel at home. Library cats are rarer than they once were, but if you take some time you can find them still today. And they may be more common than you think.

One filmmaker in Massachusetts, Gary Roma, created a documentary about library cats called "Puss in Books: Adventures of the Library Cat," and as part of his research he created a list of all the library cats in Oregon, past and present. [EDIT 1/26/2017: Looks like this domain has expired unfortunately. If we find another list, you'll be the first to know!] I don't know about you, but I find that to be essential information for all library staff.

Library cats are sometimes so essential to the library that it can cause a public outcry when they lose their jobs. Browser was a library cat in White Settlement, Texas, but when the City Council voted to fire him, the response was so immediate and overwhelming that they reversed their decision unanimously. Library cats of the world, rejoice!

Do you have a library cat, or know of one? Share their story! You'll have at least one support staffer listening with rapt attention.