FYI right now in Finland it is 49 degrees (Fahrenheit kind of degrees) and it is 9:51 pm at night. Right now in Thorntown, Boone County, Indiana, USA it is 76 degrees (still Fahrenheit!) and it is 2:51 pm (well, 2:53 pm; AB Blog Helper is pokey about looking these things up).
I hope you enjoy the interview!
Q: Tell us something about yourself.
A: I hope you have enough space on your website for all of this! Firstly, I am a very fit and handsome orange tabby Mancat. I am approximately seven (7) years old. When I was smaller (before I moved into the Library), my first set of people had my front toenails removed. I still have a set on my back feets, though.
My favorite treats in the world are whatever happens to be in Assistant Assistant Boss (AAB) Kathy’s desk drawer. (She is our Children’s Librarian and has great taste in treats.) I also love to eat gum wrappers (the paper kind), Post-It Notes, and Ethernet cables.
I also love tummy rubs and paw massages. I’ll stop for now, because I’m sure you’re getting ready to ask me even more excellent questions.
Q: You are a library cat, could you tell us more about how you became a library cat?
A: I was Found by my AAB Karen on October 19, 2007. She saw me sitting all by myself on the side of the road and decided I needed rescuing.
At first she tried to make me a House Cat. She brought me to her house where she had a few other cats and two obnoxious weiner-dogs (some people call them Dachshunds, I think). I hid under the bed since I didn’t feel like dealing with all of that commotion! After a few days she decided that I wasn’t very happy, and she thought I might make an excellent Library Cat. (She was the Library Boss, so she could make those decisions.)
When I first became a Library Cat, I had to stay in one room all of the time. It was terrible! AAB Karen finally decided to let me have the whole Library to myself, and now I go wherever I want whenever I want. Except the storage rooms and Archives, but those places are just full of junk anyways.
Q: What kinds of qualities are required of a library cat?
A: Well, a good Library Cat must be an excellent bug-hunter. Sometimes bugs and wasps get in the Library, and it is my duty to kill and eat them. A Library Cat must also be tolerant and put up with getting mauled by small children who haven’t learned how to properly pet a Cat yet. This is the toughest part of the job, especially when the small children are noisy and squealy. I also have to deal with my photo getting taken all of the time. There’s nothing like being woken up from an afternoon nap by a camera-flash, or being photographed while taking a bath!
Q: What does your typical working day consist of?
A: At 5:59am I go to the door to meet AAB Ritchie, our custodian. (If I get there a minute before he does, he thinks I’ve missed him all morning.) When Ritchie comes in I flop over for my first tummy rub of the day, and then he gives me a few treats.
At 8:00am AAB Becki comes in and brings me breakfast. Breakfast is a big spoonful of soft food, and I like it best when there’s lots of gravy in the food! I hang out downstairs in the library while the staff are arriving. This maximizes the tummy rubs, treats, and pettings that I receive. For my morning shift I pick a good soft chair on which to nap/supervise my Library. If AAB Karen is around, I follow her for a while until she sits down and then I ignore her—AFTER I get more treats, of course!
Where I spend the middle of the day depends on who is working and where. If AAB Kathy is in her office, I visit her and knock stuff off of her desk. If AB Christine is working on something important on the computer, I make sure to go stomp on her keyboard. If AAB Britta walks from one end of the library to the other, I flop down in front of her for a tummy rub.
I sit at on the Youth Circulation desk around 3:00pm. That’s when the children come in after school. The good part about sitting on that desk is that I can be admired by all of my visitors, but it’s also easy to get jjjuuuuusssttt out of reach of the really small noisy children!
Around 3:30pm I make my rounds of the library to make sure no one has forgotten supper. If AAB Becki is off work that day I have to work extra hard to remind staff to get supper for me. AAB Becki gets my supper (another spoonful of soft food!) at 4:00pm and also scoops my litter box around that time, too.
I try to spend the evening napping in sunpuddles. When it’s dark out I move to the Youth Department circulation desk and nap in a nice pre-warmed chair.
I spend my nights patrolling the library.
Q: In your opinion, what are the best things in the library?
A: The very best things about my library are the people—both the employees and the library patrons who come in to visit! My staff tries very hard to be helpful to everyone, and that’s easy to do when our visitors are so nice.
My second favorite thing is the abundance of Post-It Notes that staff leave unattended when they leave for the night. YUM!
I also like books. Even though I don’t have toenails anymore, I like to stretch my paws on the books.
Q: What is your most memorable experience as a library cat?
A: Oh, wow—there are so many things I’ve gotten to do since becoming a Library Cat! Let’s see. I had my picture taken with Santa Clause my very first Christmas in the library. I also got petted by an entire Kindergarten class—about 30 children petted me IN A ROW! It was crazy! A little boy once visited and read a book to me. My staff arranged a treat taste-test for me—I got to sample 8 or 9 kinds of treats at one time!
The worst memorable experience is when a man put me Outside. He did not know that I was an Indoors-only Library Cat. He saw me in the library and put me out. I came back in. He put me out again.
No one noticed anything amiss until AAB Britta and Christine came in to work at 11:00am and didn’t see me (they say HI to me first thing). Everybody went looking for me, and they found me right next to the East door in the bushes. I DID NOT like being Outside!
Q: Have you ever heard of a country called Finland?
A: Yes! We have books about Finland at my Library! I decided to do a little reading. I learned that Finland is a Scandinavian country and that your winter lasts a lot longer than the one here in Indiana. You have short, short days and long, long days, depending on the season. I also read that Finns appreciate and use public libraries a lot, so you must be awfully smart. Go, Finland!!!
I learned that Kuopio is 4,469 miles (7,193 km) from Thorntown. I don’t think I will be able to visit you since I’m kind of small and that’s a long way away.
Q: In Finland, there are reading education assistance dogs in some libraries, but supposedly no library cats. What do you think of that?
I think that Kuopio City Library should lead the Library Cat Revolution! We have lots of Reading Helper Dogs here in Indiana, though none that come to my Library (whew!). But Library Cats are even more awesome because (a) we can live in the Library full-time, (b) we are better at managing staff, (c) we don’t bark and drool like dogs do, and (d) we have purr-fect personalities for library work!
Have good weekends, everybody! I received my first Finding Day Card today, it was awesome!
Oh, and here's a picture: