Friday, February 6, 2009

Dewey

As soon as my children were able to write their names, they got their own library cards and I'd take them to the library at least once a week. We'd attend story time, participate in a variety of activities, and check out books. We'd marvel at L.C. (short for "Library Cat"), who lived at our the public library. L.C. was a friendly black cat with some white markings, and seeing her always made our trips to the library more special. Perhaps because I grew up in NYC, I'd never met a library cat before L.C.--except for the two marble lion statues outside of the downtown library. Until just recently--and please forgive my ignorance--I had no idea that library cats have a long history and can be found in almost every state and even other countries, Japan, Russia, and many European countries, including Croatia, Italy, Hungary, Latvia, and The Netherlands.

Unfortunately, our L.C. got into a bit of trouble with some dogs, and in 2001 was named in a $1.5 million lawsuit by Richard Espinosa against the city for “lasting physical and emotional injury". According to Espinosa, L.C. attacked his assistance dog (who helped protect him from panic attacks). In the end, the claim was dismissed as frivolous; but because L.C. had also attacked another dog prior to this episode, she had to resign from her position at the library, leaving us disappointed.

When I passed by the book Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the Worldat the store, I was immediately drawn in by the wise expression on the cat's face on the cover. (I know, I know, don't judge a book by its cover; but if a cover catches my eye, the book's going to catch my attention.) Little did I know that this library cat, Dewey, was world famous, the subject of videos, films, radio programs, calendars, newsletters, and more. In fact, Dewey's even on Facebook, with over 4,900 fans! (This number is growing, and I've already had to update it a few times.)

Published in 2008, written by Vicki Myron and Bret Witter, Dewey is the tale of the cat-in-residence at the public library in Spencer, Iowa from the perspective of Vicki Myron, a dedicated librarian there for twenty-five years. It's the bestselling story of a beloved cat and more, as Myron also chronicles Iowa's history, and the struggles this single mom faced in her own life.

Dewey, whose full name became Dewey Readmore Books, was found stuffed into the return book slot at the library on the coldest night of the year, half-frozen, but he proved to be a great survivor, as well as an extraordinary friend to many. Extroverted and intelligent, Dewey was loved by the town of Spencer, and helped to make the library a destination for people worldwide. This is a very touching biography about a truly remarkable cat, who always sensed who needed him the most. According to Wikipedia, a movie based on this book is in the works, which is expected to star Meryl Streep.

2 comments:

  1. I think any cat lover would like "Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat that Touched the World". I also had no idea that library cats were common throughout the world. Thanks for the very perceptive review.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I wish my public library had a cat. I've never visited one that did, although I've been to many small bookstores with cats in residence. It always made the place feel so cozy.

    ReplyDelete

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