Enough with the “Cat-alog” jokes, already . . .
This idea isn’t as off-the-wall as it might sound at first. The Library Cat Society maintains a listing of hundreds of libraries around the world with resident felines (you can see their map here).
The video documentary “Puss in Books: Adventures of the Library Cat,” along with its companion book Dewey / The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, chronicles the life and exploits of the late Dewey Readmore, famed feline bibliophile of the Spencer Public Library in Iowa.
Here at MCAD, students who are lonesome for their own beloved companion animals waiting for them back home might benefit emotionally from spending a few quality moments with a Library Cat. Before his untimely demise last year, long-time neighborhood resident Yo Yo Meow used to warm many MCADian hearts with his frequent, friendly visits. On evenings when classes were due to wrap up, Yo Yo Meow would hang out by the gallery doors, greeting students and asking them to slow down for a minute, receiving affectionate pets in return. Also, truth be told, the MCAD Library has from time to time experienced “mouse problems,” which a resident cat could help to alleviate.
On the other hand, most libraries with resident cats are smaller public libraries with limited hours, rather than busy academic libraries with extended hours. Some people have allergies triggered by pet dander; and other unfortunate souls are ailurophobic (literally “scared of cats”), a psychological condition that goes way beyond just “being generally annoyed by cats.” From time to time, even normally well-behaved companion animals experience stress-related issues (don’t we all?), and might as a consequence sometimes act in a less than sociable manner. Which, inevitably, raises the question of which staff member would get to be custodian of -- and assume responsibility for -- the Library Cat’s (ahem) litter box?
In the end, perhaps it’s a good thing that the decision is out of our hands: College policy forbids keeping animals on campus.
Visual Resources Librarian