The Small-town Library Cat Who Touched the World

Book - 2008
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How much of an impact can an animal have? How many lives can one cat touch? How is it possible for an abandoned kitten to transform a small library, save a classic American town, and eventually become famous around the world? One can't even begin to answer those questions until he hears the story of Dewey Readmore Books, the beloved library cat of Spencer, Iowa. Dewey's story starts in the worst possible way. Only a few weeks old, on the coldest night of the year, he was stuffed into the returned book slot at the Spencer Public Library. He was found the next morning by library director, Vicki Myron, a single mother who had survived the loss of her family farm, a breast cancer scare, and an alcoholic husband. Dewey won her heart, and the hearts of the staff, by pulling himself up and hobbling on frostbitten feet to nudge each of them in a gesture of thanks and love. For the next nineteen years, he never stopped charming the people of Spencer with his enthusiasm, warmth, humility, (for a cat) and, above all, his sixth sense about who needed him most. As his fame grew from town to town, then state to state, and finally, amazingly, worldwide, Dewey became more than just a friend; he became a source of pride for an extraordinary Heartland farming town pulling its way slowly back from the greatest crisis in its long history.--From publisher's description.
Publisher: New York : Grand Central Pub., 2008
ISBN: 9780446407410
Characteristics: 277 pages : illustrations ; 21 cm
Additional Contributors: Witter, Bret
Alternative Title: Dewey


From Library Staff

A kitten abandoned in the book-drop of an Iowa library becomes a beloved member of the library staff!

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Apr 17, 2020

This book touched my heart, I am a great cat lover, I can relate to her sadness when Dewey Readmore Books died. We had a pet turtle named Winter that was VERY inactive and one day he died. We didn't notice in till fungus started growing on it. We buried Winter in our backyard. I couldn't go into the backyard because I missed him too much to move on. I didn't get a chance to go in my backyard ever again, because we moved house, and I moved on, in till I read this story.

Apr 05, 2019

I do think that some of the previous reviewers missed a point and erred in their reviews when they complained that Vicki tells too much of her own story or that of her town and people of Spencer, Iowa. As you read this book, I think you'll realize that Dewey cannot be separated from the people he affected without ruining the story or at least losing some of its impact. I have to admit that when I first was reading through the book, I did ask myself: "why is she telling us this?", or "why is she giving us her biography in a book that's supposed to be about Dewey"? But then I realized exactly why she was smart enough to include all of this seemingly unimportant history.

You see, this book is not just about Dewey. It's not just about Vicki Myron. It's not even about the town of Spencer and its people and the awe they felt for Dewey. It's about their connection to each other. It's about how Dewey affected them, each in their own unique way. It's about the effect he had on the countless people who simply passed through Spencer, many of them coming just to meet Dewey. And let us not forgot all those, who, like me, never even met him. And yes, there is something for you, dear reader (if you have a heart beating in your chest, rest assured, Dewey's story will affect you). As you read this book, you may very well find yourself connecting with Dewey. That comes in part from understanding the community of people and the hardships they faced, the life-altering events they experienced and then how they dealt with it all. Even those events from many decades ago, helps us truly appreciate the profound effect Dewey had on the people he reached out to. Understanding Vicki and her life tells us all the more about not only Dewey's effect on her, but also the whys and wherefores of his presence, and his fascinating ability to sense who needed him and when. It's a story about how the community of Spencer, Iowa came together to deal with tragedy and crisis, usually with Dewey as the unifying factor. It teaches us that not only we can do the same, but that we should do the same. And let's not forget the Library. Dewey made his library important and famous. He did that, perhaps for all libraries, and highlighted their true significance and their need in each community, or perhaps, more accurately, our need for them, something we have lost connection with in our modern technological age. He let us know that the real reason they exist is not merely as a warehouse for books, but as a meeting place for the heart of our true selves. It is a place for true community connection. He was the conduit for that connection with Spencer and all who dropped in for a visit.

I think it also teaches us that animals serve and important role to us humans. Animals, like Dewey, give us unconditional love, regardless of who we are, what we've been through or how we react to our circumstances. Beyond that, they can help us to see what really matters. As they comfort and calm us, they allow us to perhaps see things in a better light, from a different perspective, and certainly with a better mood. It also tells us that the grief from losing a beloved pet can go as deep as any other grief we experience, and that there is absolutely nothing wrong with feeling that way.

So please, read this book. Read it for enjoyment. Read it to someone you love. Read it to laugh. Read it to cry. Read it to learn something about life and love and community. Understand what it's really all about, and then perhaps you'll not only enjoy the book, you might even learn a life-lesson from it. I think one of them is that all of us should probably visit our local library a lot more often than we do. It's all but certain that you will come to love the late, great Dewey himself.

ArapahoeSarah Jan 24, 2019

Charming and heartwarming--I wish every library could have a sweet creature for the community to adore! This story highlights the positive and powerful impact that both a library and an animal can have on the community.

IndyPL_MikeH Nov 07, 2018

Of course I read it. Where do I work?
I have a library cat in my home home...library.

Oct 29, 2018

This is a warm hearted, light read about a famous cat who was found as a kitten in the bookdrop of a library and spends his long happy life living in that library. It is also a parallel story about the life of the lady who found him and their bond of friendship. This is a must read for animal lovers or anyone who just loves a feel good true story.

bibliosara Jul 24, 2018

I cried at the end of this book. A lot. (Spoiler alert: the cat dies. Not tragically, but he was born in 1988, so it's not exactly a surprise.) It was slightly embarrassing, but absolutely worth reading. I can understand why people have been so moved by the story of this "wonder cat". Although I've never had a cat of my own, I love all animals and have enjoyed getting to know the various mousers in my life. Dewey, however, went beyond all expectations. As a library employee, I related to a lot of the stories that Myron relates, but it is the weaving of her story with her feline companion that truly captivated me. Part biography (on the cat's part) and part auto-biography (on the part of the human), Dewey is bound to entrance, inspire, and - ultimately - move readers to tears (and a deeper understanding of why animals are God's gift to us). For the animal lover, the book lover, and anyone who has struggled with feeling alone, Dewey will make you believe in hope and love again.

May 13, 2018

I liked the story about Dewy a lot. But at can get a bit dull. I felt really heartfelt listening to his story; from how he was so cruelly brought to the library, to the unusual kindness and understanding he had towards everyone, and the amount of publicity he got because of his wonderful personally. However, this was mixed in with the author's personal story; she kept talking about Spencer, Spencer, Spencer. There were many times in which she speaks entire chapters without talking about Dewy, and I found myself skipping multiple pages in annoyance. Nevertheless, a touching read.

Oct 04, 2017

This book is very touching and inspirational. The way Vicki Myron described Spencer, Iowa makes me want to live there.

HCL_staff_reviews Jan 17, 2017

It was one of the coldest January mornings in 1988 in Spencer Iowa when library director Vicki Myron heard a strange sound coming out of the metal book drop box. To her surprise, huddled in the corner was a tiny kitten weighing bearly one pound. It was love at first sight for them both. Anyone who is a fan of memoirs, felines, history or simply a good story will enjoy this book. — Jennifer L., Ridgedale Library

vpl_childrens Dec 08, 2015

On a bitterly cold Iowa morning, librarian Vicki Myron reaches into the library’s book drop and discovers a tiny, shivering kitten. Little did she realize how Dewey would change the fortunes of her rural library.

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