Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Dewey: A small-town Library Cat who Touched the World

I love cats! I have five of them myself. When I saw the book Dewey: A Small-town Library Cat who Touched the World by Vicki Myron come into our library I knew I had to read it a) because it was about a cat, and (b) the cat on the cover was so cute! Okay, not the best reason to choose a book but that is how we do it sometimes, don’t we?

In the winter of 1988 in Spencer Iowa, the library staff discovered that someone had dropped a small kitten into the library drop-box during one of the coldest nights of the year. After thawing out the frozen little guy and seeing that he was going to survive, they sought permission to keep him as the library cat. A contest was held to name him & he officially became known as Dewey Readmore Books. (In the library world, "Dewey" is the filing system, invented by Melville Dewey, we use to put the books in order on the shelf) It was very appropriate to name this cat Dewey and he soon became an ambassador for the Spencer Public Library. His arrival there was during the time when one of the worse economic crisis of the 1980s hit America. The farming community was devastated by low crop prices and factory closures. As people began to come to the library to use the job bank, Dewey would be there to meet them. He greeted everyone who came through the door & would often be found on a warm lap, helping to read the paper or sitting with the children’s group as they listened to stories.

Dewey continued to be the library cat for 19 years and became famous far and wide. People traveled out of their way on their holidays to meet Dewey and have their pictures taken with him. Even people who are not cat lovers, like some of us, will enjoy this story. It is one of hope and good will during difficult times. It is the story of Dewey- a library cat - who touched the world, starting with one small library in one small town.