Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

My note: This true story about a library cat by Vicki  Myron with Bret Witter is a perfect book to celebrate National Library Week*

Dewey is a delightful story of a real cat adopted by library director Vicki Myron, the Spencer Iowa Library in the small town of Spencer, Iowa. Actually, the entire library adopted Dewey, but it was author Myron who found the kitten on a very cold morning on January 18, 1988 and considered the cats hers on permanent loan to the library.

This down-to-earth story about a wonderful cat who loved the library could almost be a children’s story, if written just about Dewey. But the book also includes Vicki’s story of growing up in Iowa, her trials and tribulations with her divorce, and the ups and downs with her daughter Jodi, to whom Dewey was extremely attached.

All the staff fell in love with Dewey, who had a personality perfectly suited to a library. They named him Dewey Readmore Books. He would sit on children’s as well as adults’ laps when they came to the library to read or for a meeting. As a kitten he would jump on high shelves, desks of the staff, on top of the copy machine where it was warm, or ride in the book cart. He was rambunctious and gregarious!

Dewey became a star cat, written up in every cat magazine as well as newspapers. A team even came from Japan as part of Japanese Public Television. As people learned about Dewey, they would make a detour when they were within a few hours’ driving distance just so their children could meet him. Dewey loved the attention and was a perfect gentleman!

Author Vicki Myron also wrote about Spencer, so readers could get a clearer picture of the kind of town she lived in. Her struggles with obtaining more amenities for the library, as well as her personal struggles are part of the story. She personally took care of Dewey when the library was closed for any length of time and she made sure he went to the veterinarian when he was having health problems.

For almost two decades Dewey was king of the Spencer Public Library. The patrons loved him, as did the staff. When he became too ill and in too much pain from a tumor, Vicki was the one who took him to the vet, holding him while Dewey took his final breaths in Vicki’s arms.

At the end of the book, author Myron noted that she had no idea how far the word of beloved Dewey’s death had traveled. It was on CBS afternoon newsbreak as well as MSNBC as well as in local news and local radio stations. Businesses touched by Dewey’s life also responded with gifts and flowers. People in Spencer received calls from relatives and friends about Dewey’s death. He was a celebrity!

I loved this book. In a world where we are faced with terrorism, extreme weather patterns, high taxes, and all the other issues of the 21st century, this book reads almost like a story from an earlier time, one less fraught with stress and focused more on loving one small creature who made a difference in so many lives.

Dewey was on the bestseller list of the New York Times and is published by Grand Central Publishing. hardcover costs $19.99. It makes a perfect gift for cat lovers.

*From the American Library Association site:

First sponsored in 1958, National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians and to promote library use and support. All types of libraries – school, public, academic and special – participate.

Celebrations during National Library Week include:

  • Monday, April 11: State of America’s Libraries Report released, including Top Ten Frequently Challenged Books of 2015.
  • Tuesday, April 12: National Library Workers Day, a day for library staff, users, administrators and Friends groups to recognize the valuable contributions made by all library workers.
  • Wednesday, April 13: National Bookmobile Day, a day to recognize the contributions of our nation’s bookmobiles and the dedicated professionals who make quality bookmobile outreach possible in their communities.

6 thoughts on “Dewey: The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World

  1. Thanks for the reminder of a dear book, even though it made me cry towards the end.

  2. Thanks for the wonderful review of the cat named “Dewey,” for the Dewey Decimal System naturally.
    We’ve had many cats in our lives, all different, I had one in my childhood, who could have been the Twin of Dewey, my grandmother called a Money Cat for it was golden in appearance. Each one from snowball,
    the feral cat, who was never totally tamed to Miss Daisy, who personified the prissy cat, who loved
    to cuddled up, and spent her last days on our bed to a number of rescued barn cats, who we decided
    needed to enticed to a more domestic existence, and we succeeded. We have two now, both tuxedo
    cats, Oreo, who is nearing his eighteenth or nineteenth birthday, who has never bit or scratched in
    his life in spite of his humble beginnings as a barn cat, and Honey Blossom, a beautiful female version
    of Oreo with longer luxurious hair, who lives in the room in the barn where Sue holds her lectures,
    but is fancy free during the day to play hide and seek with our donkey, Nico.

  3. My daughter,Cathy,
    and I had two cats each.. One came from my sister’s family cat, and we rescued the other three. Cathy’s first cat lived for 18 years and looked a lot like Dewey. Z had a big, bushy tail and was VERY affectionate. Because I had allergies, Cathy took my two cats to join her two.

    I have a friend who has rescued six cats–all lived in the house together for many years giving Lorraine years of company and happy days. She is down to one this year. I wonder what she will
    do after this “buddy” passes.

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