To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com
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To Library Cats Worldwide

by

Artwork: Victoria Sara Dazin

Retired from a life-long career in health care, I live in Israel and dedicate my time to passions that have Read More
  • Joined Sep 2014
  • Published Books 39

 

 

“There  are , 809 library  cats  worldwide

664 of which are in the U.S, as well as

507 past felines.”

Gary Roma

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The relationship between cats and libraries

is centuries old. The association relates back

to ancient times when Herodotus described the

existence of libraries in Egyptian temples. During

this period, some animals were given special

training to prevent rodents and serpents from

infiltrating temples in an effort to preserve

papyrus rolls.

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

  

Some 1,500 years after cats were first domesticated,

in 3rd century BC Egypt, the Library of Alexandria 

was constructed, it served as the nation’s epicenter

of scholarship  and cats played a central role in its

development.

Pestis, a sub-librarian whose job was to sort 

and organize thousands of manuscripts, most

of which were unlabeled and hard to identify

due to the nibbling of rogue mice.

 

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

  One day, a small cat approached him, sat by his

side for several hours, and  followed him back to

the library. The smitten Petsis named his new

friend Myeo, and he became the world’s first

“library cat.”

Almost immediately, Myeo went about eradicating

the pesky mice, and helping to preserve the

manuscripts and soon, Petsis had enlisted a

small army of like-minded cats to join him.

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

In ancient Egypt, cats were a symbol of wisdom;

surely enough, Petsis’ new felines encouraged

a stroke of genius. As he recorded the “kills” of

each cat on scraps of papyrus, he found himself

left with a disorganized mess of names. His solution

led to the first recorded instance of  alphabetization.

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

“One evening, Petsis realized that if he put the scraps

in alphabetical order by each cat’s name he would be

able to find, and update, each record more rapidly.

Shortly thereafter, he realized that he could apply

the same principle to the organization of the scrolls.

Thus, it appears, that Petsis, with a major assist from

Myeo, was responsible for the introduction of

alphabetization for organization, classification,

and cataloguing.”

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

Monastic records from the Middle Ages indicate

cats were utilized in medieval monasteries to stop

rats from eating expensive manuscripts. In 1745,

Russian Empress Elisabeth published an order to

transport cats to her court. The descendents of

these cats now patrol the State Hermitage  museums.

Under the directive of Empress Elizabeth, cats were

employed to roam the halls of Russia’s Hermitage

Museum library. “Find the best and biggest cats,

capable of catching mice,” she ordered in 1745,

“and send them by cart with sufficient food immediately.”

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

During the nineteenth century, the British

government compensated libraries housing

cats that kept rodents away from book.

In 19th century Britain, librarians were paid

extra to employ cats as a natural form of

rodent control.

Records of cats in American libraries date back

at least 150 years.

 

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

In 1987, Phyllis Lahti, a librarian in Minnesota,

started the Library Cat Society. Her goals were

twofold: to encourage the integration of cats at

libraries, and to tout the advantages of a “feline

literary presence” catching . For years, Lahti produced

a little-known newsletter and attempted to compile

a list of all known library cats in the United States.

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

The Library Cat Society, was established in

1987 to encourage the establishment, respect,

and recognition of library cats. The society included

dozens of member libraries that exchanged

information about their cats, and published a

newsletter about them.

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

 

The late 1990s, Gary Roma tell : “I was doing research

in a library for another project, and in the Encyclopedia

of Associations, I came across a listing for the Library

Cat Society. So, I went through an archive of all the past

newsletters, came up with list of library cats, and went

on a road trip from Massachusetts to North Dakota to

document all the library cats I could find.”

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

 

 

Israeli  Library Cat “Israel” in a library in

Jerusalem.

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

 

The ongoing relationship of cats and libraries has been

chronicled in the anthology Cats, Librarians, and Libraries:

Essays for and About the Library Cat Society. The lives of

library cats were explored by Gary Roma, a documentarian

who produced a film entitled Puss in Books: Adventures of

the Library Cat. 

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

Dewey Readmore Books  is perhaps the most famous

library cat. He lived in Iowa’s Spencer Public Library

for 19 years.

After his death, a book  was published about him.

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

 

Spencer Public Library, Iowa:

Dewey’s home for 19 years.

 

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

 

Dewey Readmore Books was the resident cat at Spencer

Public Library. He was put in the book return one cold

January night in 1988. When the staff found him the

next morning, they decided to adopt him. After the library’s

board of trustees and the city council approved, the kitten was

declawed, neutered, and given the proper vaccinations.

 

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

A contest was held to pick a name, and Dewey Readmore

Books was officially added to the staff.

Dewey  was a video star in “Puss in Books”, a documentary

about library cats. Of course, Dewey was already the star of

the library. Many people came in just to see him.

Dewey even had his own job description.

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Dewey passed away on November 29, 2006 ,he had

become very frail because of hyperthyroid disease for

which he was receiving medication. Although Dewey is

gone, he will be remembered by thousands of people

whom he cheered by simply being a loving presence in

the library. Although we may get another library cat,

Dewey will never be replaced. The library won’t be

the same without Dewey.

 

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

Dewey’s memory lives on. He is an official member of

the Library Cat Society and was a contributing author

on several occasions using Vicki Myron, the library director,

as his scribe. Vicki has written an adult book about her life

with Dewey at Spencer Public Library, published September

24th, 2008.Dewey Readmore Books, the Famous Library Cat.

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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

Dewey made sure to keep up his library duties ,

which were listed on a placard in the his “study”

at the back of the building:

 

  1. Reducing stress for all humans who pay attention to him. 2. Sitting by the front
  2. door every morning at 9:00 am to greet the public as they enter the library. 3.
  3. Sampling all boxes that enter the library for security problems and comfort level.
  4. Attending all meetings in the Round Room as official library ambassador.
  5.  Providing comic relief for staff and visitors whenever possible.
  6.  
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  1. 6. Climbing in book bags and briefcases while patrons are studying.
  2. 7. Generating free national and worldwide publicity for Spencer Public Library.
  3. (This entails sitting still for photographs, smiling for the camera, and generally
  4. being cute.)
  5. 8. Working toward status as world’s most finicky cat by refusing all but the most
  6. expensive, delectable foods — and even turning up his nose at those most of the time.
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To  Library Cats Worldwide by Sara Dazin - Illustrated by Victoria Sara Dazin - Ourboox.com

 

Bibliography

 

A Quick Guide to Library Cats

Ellyssa Kroski — January 9, 2014

 

Library cat – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Library_cat

 

Dewey Readmore Books, the Famous Library Cat

www.infinitecat.com/cat-tales/dewey-readmore-books.html

 

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(c) All rights reserved to Victoria Sara Dazin.

 

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