Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Book review: Baker & Taylor

To distract yourself from current events (AKA the election), I suggest reading a good cat story. The True Tails of Baker and Taylor is not just cute anecdotes about the two kitties who lived at the public library in a small town in Nevada. It also illustrates how societal norms have evolved to include companion animals in our daily lives and how we view them as having individual personalities and not just as a species. In 1982 the librarian, Jan Louch, and her co-worker decided that they would purchase two Scottish fold cats to live at the library. Now I think there is a greater awareness of adopting rather than buying cats but at that time many cats in the area were outdoor/feral cats kept on ranches simply for controlling rodents. Douglas County, Nevada grew in size and changed in demographics as Californians moved into the area, as well as libraries changed in the wake of the Internet and home computers. Baker and Taylor did not have a Facebook page, photo-shopped website pictures or selfies being tweeted, yet they became famous via library conventions and at trade shows where the company after which they were named used their images on posters and shopping bags.

There are many reasons Baker and Taylor were so renowned and loved by people, many of whom lived out of town and had never even met the boys. Cats make many people feel relaxed and comfortable, just like therapy animals. Many shelters now have reading programs where school age kids come in and read to cats and dogs; this provides the animals some one-on-one time and helps children become more confident in their reading skills.Consider cat cafes, which have become "a thing" in many countries. Many skilled nursing/senior homes have a resident feline. I've also read about yoga classes with adoptable cats "helping" in the studio. Kitties in public places help us remember to take a moment, pet the kitty and just be.

If you enjoyed Dewey, the Library Cat check out The True Tails of Baker and Taylor. Highlights include short bios of other library cats around the U.S.

Taylor strikes a pose