Although we haunt our local libraries regularly, we advocate them as a great summer hangout spot to keep your brains from being scrambled by the sun. Our motto during the dog days of summer is, “Come for the books, stay for the cats.” We’re talking about the feline guardians of fiction and non-fiction that live in libraries across the world. Some were hired to control the rodent population, others for the sheer enjoyment of staff and patrons. Books and cats have always been two great things that go great together. Meet a few famous library cats after the jump that take naps in the reference section, work the circulation desk, and warmly greet visitors.
Dewey Readmore Books
Iowa’s Spencer Public Library welcomed beloved library mascot Dewey in 1988 after someone left him in the book return bin. The community welcomed him with open arms and helped provide for his care. The orange, longhaired Dewey expressed his thanks by greeting people, hanging out during library meetings, and taking advantage of photo ops with those who drove many miles to meet him. After 19 years — many of which were spent patrolling the Spencer Library stacks — Dewey passed away in 2006. Since then, his literature-loving spirit has inspired a book (Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World) and a film starring Meryl Streep that has languished in development for several years. Since Dewey’s passing, retired library director Vicki Myron adopted a new cat named Page Turner. She’s visited Spencer, but has not taken over Dewey’s former role.
TLC (Top Library Cat)
We think 1990s-era T-Boz, Left Eye, and Chilli would love TLC (Top Library Cat) — the kitty who lives at Broken Bow Public Library in Nebraska. He’s a big fan of Lillian Jackson Braun and all books on cats and fish. The library is lucky enough to have a fireplace, where TLC camps out during the chilly winter months.
Page has ruled the roost at the Cazenovia Library in New York since 2009, taking over from former hard-working house cats Dewey Decimal, Kitty, and Jesse (who apparently loved to ride the elevator). Page is extremely playful, and if this photo is any indication, loves to watch over the library while perched on as many books as possible.
Browser is large and in charge at the Pine River Public Library in Minnesota since 2002. He blogs, hangs out with the kids during storytime, and endorses his own line of mugs, key rings, and library trading cards. The famous feline receives many visitors — including Signe Veje, who featured Browser in the documentary film, If Cats Could Speak. The handsome Browser is also a master lounger, and the reference section seems to lull him into a complete catatonic state. See more Browser on his Flickr page.
University of Science and Arts of Oklahoma library cat Addison Nash performs the usual tasks of napping and greeting, but she also raises money for pet-adoption society Friends with Four Paws. Like the university’s students, Addison breaks during the summer and fall, occupying her time updating Facebook.
Waldo and Olivia
Washington’s Ocean Shores Public Library first adopted book-savvy superstar Trixie Belden (named after the fictional girl detective by mystery writer Julie Campbell Tatham) in 1999, but her post ended in 2005. After pressure from the patrons to invite a new friend to stalk the stacks, Waldo and Olivia were adopted (named after the famous children’s book characters). Budget cuts rocked the library, and the feline duo was adopted, but their time at Ocean Shores was legendary due to their spunky and strong personalities. Here’s an old video of them in action.
Former outdoor cat Tober moved into the Thorntown Public Library in 2008 and has been disciplining the human staff as boss cat ever since. Some of his duties include: guard and snoopervisor, paperweight, mouse stalker, blogger, greeter, seat warmer, and entertainer. You’ll often find Tober sunning himself, or greeting patrons as the above photo proves. Check out other great pics of Tober on his official website.
Valley Center Public Library’s resident mascot Pages was a stray who made her way to the front door of the community branch. Although at first her stay was controversial, the library board has allowed her to remain in her new home. She’s been a starlet in the media and even receives fan mail. Pages loves to play and jump from bookshelf to bookshelf, but she also blogs about library events when she’s not napping or greeting the librarians in the morning.
Arkansas School for the Blind and Visually Impaired started their library cat program in the late 1990s, and since then many wonderful furry book lovers have held the esteemed position of head honcho. They pose with students for school pictures, join the library float during the town parade, play Santa, and provide students with a lot of love. Shadow is an assistant library cat that can usually be found working public relations fundraising events for Feline Rescue and Rehome — an organization that librarian Susan Loesch and friends founded.
Porter C. Bibliocat
Anna Porter Public Library’s resident pussycat is a strong contender for best library cat name ever. Porter C. Bibliocat (the “C” stands for “Catalog”) is a trusty, laid-back kitty that seems to enforce the golden “no talking in the library” rule by staying stoic most of the time. He’s mighty squishable, though.
The stately Sir Eli lives up to his name. He’s a fluffy Ragdoll cat who hangs out at the Los Robles Elementary School Library twice a week to keep watch over the kids. Since he’s a total marshmallow, docile and tolerant of tiny hands, Eli can often be seen in the school nurse’s office comforting sick children. Owner, librarian Marily Barsaleau, also takes Sir Eli to hospitals and hospices to charm patients.
Connecticut is proud to have Main Coon kitty Emma (aka Queen Emma, Her Royal Highness, and The Boss) at the Lyme Public Library. Barbara and Melissa Moss have featured her in Working Cats of Southern New England. Emma enjoys supervising all library activities by sitting and sleeping on the stool behind the circulation desk and will engage the librarians in a staring contest if they dare approach. She loves to greet patrons and accepts adoration in the form of stroking, treats, and toys.