Library Says Farewell to 19-Year-Old Mascot

Associated Press
Sunday, December 3, 2006

SPENCER, Iowa -- The final chapter is closed on Dewey Readmore Books.

The 19-year-old cat, who became a mascot for the city's library after being found in a book drop, died Wednesday in the arms of librarian Vicki Myron.

The temperature was minus 10 when Myron and another librarian found Dewey under a pile of books in the library's book drop when they came to work one morning in January 1988.

"We didn't know if someone abandoned him or if a Good Samaritan found him on the street and shoved him in the book drop to get him out of the cold," she said. "His paws were frozen. We warmed him up and fed him and he just purred and cuddled. From Day One, we felt he'd be the right personality for the public."

Since then, Dewey became famous, with television crews coming from as far away as Japan to do stories about him, Myron said.

The cat's name was chosen in a contest shortly after he was found. He was named after the Dewey Decimal System, which is used in most libraries to catalogue books.

Dewey, who Myron said came running for cheeseburgers, boiled ham and chicken garlic TV dinners, had been experiencing health problems recently and was diagnosed with a stomach tumor shortly before Nov. 18, which was officially marked as his 19th birthday.

After his health rallied, he started "acting funny trying to hide" and Myron decided to take him to the vet and have him euthanized.

Library employee Kim Peterson said the staff is talking about having Dewey cremated and burying his ashes at the library.

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