Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Library cat

I’ve recently been working on a project that has had me visiting a large number of library sites. In the process I’ve discovered many of the sites include a picture of the ‘library cat.’ Library cat? What’s up with that? I do know a couple of bookstores that I’ve been in that I was quite likely to be visited by the resident feline who came by to survey my reading preferences.

One library said their particular cat was one of 640 known library cats in the country. I don’t know how valid that number is but from the number of sites where I saw one posted I am inclined to believe it. It caused me to wonder, why cats? In all of my wanderings I did not run across the library poodle. I saw no library parrot. If they had a relaxing tank of fish they didn’t say anything about it. Maybe some of them might have had a rat or two in the musty portions of the basement and I understand no mention of that.

Is it because cats are quiet, tiptoe around on padded feet? Because they eat little and are economical to keep? Not all cats befriend people easily but the ones posted look as if they enjoy greeting and welcoming visitors. Is it because they don’t have to be ‘taken out’, but will go do their business in a litter box hidden in some dark corner? Whatever the reason books and cats seem to go together, or is it just libraries and cats?

Whatever the reason I have no problem with it. Personally, my writing assistant is a Brittany Spaniel that my family felt would keep me from staying in my chair too much at a time but I found that installing a doggie door and keeping a sack of doggie treats on my side table will forestall that strategy nicely.

While I’m on the subject, I love libraries. I consumed more books as a kid than we could afford and the library became a stop on the way home from school most days. I read, I hung out, I played chess, sometimes I even helped them re-shelve books and did some chores there. There is a very special place in my heart for libraries.

As a result the project I referred to is visiting them. I think I’ve been to every library in the US that can be visited online. Those that have online catalogs I look to see if any of my books are shelved. For a genuine library person being shelved in a library is the utmost honor, and I know it helps bring name visibility for a writer in a community. I actually have a list on my site where I have confirmed they can find me in a library. I encourage my friends to recommend my books for shelving. I’m running a library promotion for my new YA aimed at getting kids to read and discuss it, but focusing on doing it through libraries.

Do you suppose I should get rid of this dog and get a cat for my library? If I did who would alert me when neighbors come home or the UPS guy is here? Who would protect me from fierce neighborhood cats and the roadrunner that runs amuck outside? I suppose I’ll just interface with library cats when I venture into their domain,

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