No more pets at Spencer Public Library

Friday, January 9, 2009
(File photo) Spencer Public Library board members unanimously voted to permanently prohibit "pets in residence" at the library, such as the library's late resident cat, Dewey Readmore Books, during a meeting held Thursday night.

Even though Spencer Public Library representatives have received numerous "offers, requests and inquiries" about hosting another potential resident library cat -- all of which have been turned down -- board members voted unanimously Thursday night to establish a "permanent prohibition against having pets in residence at the library."

When Dewey Readmore Books, the library's resident cat for 19 years, passed away on Nov. 29, 2006, the board put a two-year moratorium on getting another cat.

That two-year moratorium ended in November 2008.

Last night's discussion had all of the current board members mention they'd received telephone calls about this matter.

Dennis Corcoran and his two daughters, Kelsey and Kimberly, showed up in person to relay they were not in favor of the Spencer Public Library housing another feline.

Kay Larson, the library director, referenced four pages of information and statistics about "cats and allergies" in the board packet from the National Allergy, the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, the Humane Society, the National Allergy Supply Company and the Love of Cats Web sites. Board members were then asked to read a similar page submitted by Dennis Corcoran, which cited information from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology and WebMD. One statistic stated of the 50 million U.S. people with allergies, 30 million have pet and cat allergies.

According to WebMD, "approximately 30 percent of this number have a severe immediate allergic reaction" and "it takes several weeks to several months of continuous thorough cleaning to rid an area of cat dander."

The three Corcoran family members present at the meeting acknowledged they could relate to these statistics. Kelsey Corcoran reported she was not able to come to the library her "entire school career because of Dewey."

"I'm literally deathly allergic to cats," she said. "It will put me in the hospital."

The Corcorans written piece ended with, "According to the National Association of Physically Handicapped, 9.4 percent of the USA population, or 28 million people, have a physical handicap. We provide them accommodation, as we should. People with cat allergies should be provided the same consideration in taxpayer-funded public buildings."

When a board member questioned whether the library had "ever been cleaned after" Dewey passed away, he was told "not beyond normal cleaning."

The Corcorans were then asked if their allergies were acting up in the library last night, to which all replied no.

Esther Connell and Carol Hansen each told their peers around the board table that they'd been told stories of library visitors who'd "quit coming" when Spencer hosted its former resident library cat, but have returned since its passing.

After it was relayed that Karla Painter had called the library to leave a message saying "no cats," board members were presented with a letter by Spencer teacher Jo Merrill that encouraged them to "approve the adoption of a new library cat."

"As a teacher in the Spencer schools for over 30 years, I often heard stories from students about their encounters with Dewey," Merrill's letter stated. "The presence of a cat in the library was an invitation for children to visit a friend while learning about reading and books. Once in the habit of visiting the library, my students were able to take advantage of all of the resources provided by the friendly staff in this remarkable facility. They were more likely to become hooked on libraries.

"On a personal note, ... he was a great ambassador for the library and the community. A new cat would not replace Dewey, but would offer another generation of children the opportunity to visit their friend in the library. They, too, would then experience all that the library has to offer."

As the board continued its discussion, Roger Littlefield said, "I don't know if this is a very good comparison, but I think about the handicap-accessible door. We want to have a door that allows for, I imagine, a very small segment of our population to be able to access the library, whereas they wouldn't otherwise. And, if one individual in the community is unable to utilize the library because of the presence of a cat, I just see that as being hugely significant. And yet, I think the number is well beyond a single individual, because countless people have described what you described to me: That they simply were unable to use the library. They wanted to be here, but could not tolerate the atmosphere. Again, I think that's a very serious matter."

"I agree with Roger," Todd Korbitz said. "This is completely an access issue. This is a public space that needs to be accessible for 100 percent of everybody in the community. I think that needs to be our goal."

As the board's discussion was coming to a close, President Cathy Greiner said, "In defense of the people that were here when Dewey came -- we didn't go looking for Dewey. Dewey found us."

Immediately after the board voted unanimously to permanently prohibit future "pets in residence" at Spencer Public Library, Korbitz looked at the Corcoran family and said with a big smile, "Welcome to the Spencer Public Library!"

* It was also mentioned during Thursday's meeting that Vicki Myron, the Spencer library's former director who co-penned the book "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World," is the owner of Page Turner, a male kitten that resembles the late Dewey. It was also noted that the Japanese television crew that visited Spencer in December has returned and will interview past business owners, teachers and students today. The crew is scheduled to film Myron and her new cat on Saturday.

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  • I am one of the many readers of the Dewey book who got touched by the story of the people of Spencer and it's public library.

    Living thousands of miles away in Germany, I can fully understand that you might say "What has he got to say, this is our library, it's an issue only for spencer residents."

    Of course it is, it is your library and even if people from the whole world come to visit Spencer Public Libraray because of Dewey and his fame, it is still you, the people of Spencer, who use it as a local community spot.

    I can understand that the library board made it clear that no one should have trouble accessing the library and that this should be equal for the handicaped or for people who are alleric.

    But at least the article gave me the feeling that the library board didn't do the effect that Dewey had for the library enough justice.

    I support Jo Merrill's opinion that a cat in a library can be a good friend to children to visit and draw them into the library. Of course a library isn't a dead place without a cat, from what I read in the book and in a few articles here in the Spencer Daily Reporter I get the impression that the people who work there do a good job in attracting patrons and caring for them.

    A new animal might just have made their job a little easier...

    -- Posted by stefansz on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 5:30 AM
  • I agree with stafansz that the board did not acknowledge what Dewey did for the library. By the way, I have read (and re-read) Ms. Myron's book about Dewey - her writing both about Dewey and her life in Iowa (I'm from South Dakota originally) has touched my heart.

    It would have been nice to see the Library Board simply acknowledge that the "Dewey Era" could not be replicated. He was an amazing addition to the Spencer Library for 19 years and could never have been replaced by any other.

    -- Posted by pieri on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 9:52 AM
  • No offense intended but children are more likely to read if their parents are readers than if a cat lives at the library. The Spencer Library board needs to focus on bringing its facility up to the standards of a few surrounding communities' libraries such as Spirit Lake & Rock Valley rather than whether or not it should become a pet shelter. I have heard too many people say that they prefer the Spirit Lake Library over Spencers and will drive numerous times per week to access it.

    -- Posted by Leah Cauthron on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 9:53 AM
  • Political correctness is alive and well in Spencer, Iowa. Or at least being used as an excuse, because usually Spencer residents rail against having to accommodate anyone's special needs.

    I'd have more respect for the board if they'd just admit:

    They hate cats.

    They're jealous of the attention Dewey & Vicki got.

    That Dewey was a positive benefit to the library and Spencer.

    That for the few that avoided the library, at least as many started using the library.

    That allergies is a lame excuse to ban ALL pets, even fish.

    -- Posted by helped_myself on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 10:28 AM
  • I am upset that the board would adhere to such information that was obtained off the wedsite "WebMD", that they didn't do their own research before making a decision on getting rid of Paige. Being in the medical field and reading this article amazes me. First and foremost this dad who comes in with his two grown daughters who have "litterally deathly allergies to cats" is a little strange. And knowing that the library didn't do any "special cleaning" after Dewey died and the family was not experiencing any symptoms when they were in the library for the board meeting," smells fishy". If you talk to an allergy specialist they will tell you that you would have to do major cleaning and probably remove the carpet to get rid of all the dander and such. And this was not done I assume and again the family didn't experience any symptoms, again that doesn't add up. If they were so "allergic" to cats that the allergy may just kill them and put them in the hospital I sure would not have risk my life and went into the library if I knew there had been a cat there and they had not cleaned or removed the carpet. This whole story from the Cocoran's seem just that "a story".

    Also the comparision between handicap issues and allergies was not comparing apples to apples, again the board fell for that story.

    Another thing two people have returned to the library since Dewey passed, but how many now will not show up because Paige is gone.

    It would be nice to have a log in book now to see how many times these two grown children, Kelsey and Kimberly show up at the library now that the cat is gone......I would bet less than a handful, (or a litter ful) Since when did Spencer's population deminish to just 3, I feel their should have been a poll taken from ALL the people in Spencer or surrounding areas and let the public (more than 3) let their voice be heard.

    I believe their will be less people visiting the library because one of their main staff is gone....Paige.

    I don't believe this "allergy" was as serious as what these people made it out to be and the board was manipulated into thinking it was a big issue. My wish for all the board members is a little more back bone.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 11:30 AM
  • This saddens me on banning a Library Cat permanently. This shifts the prestige of the library from a special place to visit into just another building with books. Yes, people do have alergies - as do I. But to try to create a place where no problems exist for someone is impossible. You could have an allergy to the carpet fibers, seat cushion filling, type of print on the papers (yes some people have that and can't touch a newspaper). Does this mean we have to eliminate everything?

    Libraries are having a hard time attracting patrons with all the online resources available from their home. Withont creating a unique experience, they will pass you by.

    Thank you Dewey for bringing attention to small town life from afar. The attention will live on in print. But I don't see why I would drive out of my way now when I visit family in Southwest Minnesota (Worthington) for a glimse of excitement

    -- Posted by cinquestl on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 12:20 PM
  • I don't live in Spencer and have never been there but I just finished reading the book by Vicki Myron about Dewey, the library cat. I was completely enamored with your town and your library until I read this morning that the library board voted to prohibit any future cats at the library. I completely understand people with allergies - I suffer with allergies myself. However, in the 19 years that Dewey was at the library, surely there was not such a problem that the majority of people could not come to the library.

    Maybe the article did not accurately relate all the facts, but, reading it I got the distinct impression that there was a mean spirited agenda at work. How could people who are so deathly allergic to cats that they would end up in the hospital stand to be in a room that had not had extra cleaning done to it after Dewey died. They managed to be there for the meeting with no ill effects. This does not sound reasonable.

    If your library board was completely honest, they would turn down any money that is generated by Dewey - whether it is postcards, tourism generated by the book or future movie, or publicity by TV crews that come to town because of Dewey. He put Spencer on the map.

    I live in a city that is so politically correct that you cannot even say "Merry Christmas" because it may offend someone, children cannot bring any snack to school that has nuts or peanut butter and jelly sandwiches because one child may be allergic, and we can't drive the posted speed limit down our streets and alleys because the cars get in the way of children playing in the streets, etc. I had hoped that, even though you are a small town, you might have escaped the stupid mindset of lawsuits and "unfairness", where a tiny group of malcontents ruin things for the majority of people.

    I can't believe that the majority of people who came to your library when Dewey was alive did not benefit much more than one or two people who, if you really face facts, just don't like cats. Your library board has put a black eye on the town of Spencer, Iowa.

    -- Posted by alclubb on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 1:32 PM
  • I totally agree with the decision to not have another cat in the library. I too am an allergy sufferer, however, my mother is worse. She was scratched by a cat once, and the scratch site was swollen for several months. She can tell if there is a cat in the building when she walks in the door. Her eyes immediately begin to itch and turn red and swell, as well as other symptoms. I know there are many other people who are as allergic as well, and the library should not be made inaccessible to them because of those who love cats. It is nice for those who love cats to have one there, but it is discrimination to allergy sufferers to purposely shut them out by allowing a cat to live in a public building. It is not being political correct. It is being fair to those who pay the taxes to support something they cannot use, because some people choose to place a cat there. In this instance, does the cat have more rights than the taxpayer??

    We recently moved back to the area, and was not aware of Dewey until we moved back. When I first found out about Dewey living in the library, that was my first thought. What about the allergy sufferers?? Are they not able to use the library?? How unfair is that??

    As for the other pets..even you really think anyone is going to cuddle with a fish when they are in the library reading??

    After 2 years, under normal cleaning and vacuuming, many of the allergens from the cat can be cleaned up. I agree you cannot get rid of all allergens, but why purposely put one in that many people are allergic too, and therefore cannot use the facility. It is not just one or two people, but many. They are not just making up their symptoms. Those of you who are cat lovers are the ones who are getting upset. Keep your cats in your home, and do not subject those who are allergic to lose their right of freedom to enjoy the library.

    -- Posted by army-mom on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 2:09 PM
  • They should set up a huge salt water tank. It would be relaxing to read next to, and it could be set up in a way that it could be informational to kids. They could set up a little ecosystem and put clown fish and other fish like it into it and the kids would love it cause they would look like "Nemo." Then they could have childrens stories and informational books about fish set up around the tank, and could inform the children of the importance that every species plays in the world, and how if one is taken away it could throw off the entire balance.

    I'm just thinking it would be really cool and I would hope nobody is allergic to fish.

    Oh, my boyfriend used to go into the library while Dewey was there and be just fine and he's very allergic to cats also, the ventilation system in the library was good enough that in that big of a space, with just one cat, just walking in there shouldn't be enough to set your allergies off, at least not too the point that you'd avoid the library completely.

    I'm just curious as too how many people didn't go in just because they heard there was a cat.

    How many people who were allergic actually went in there cause how could you know without trying it out?

    -- Posted by sammi07 on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 5:45 PM
  • I can't imagine what this discussion has to do with some other town's library. The object seems to be weather or not another animal would have helped the current needs of the tax payers in Spencer.

    A library has many things to do besides care for animals. I love cats and don't expect any one to have to put up with my preferences especially when it eliminates their ability to participate in something they pay for too.

    The fact that Dewey was allowed to remain after so many years is testimony enough for the board and staff. If an animal bit my kid I would not be too happy about that and weather he would like to continue reading there would be a question as well.

    As for what Dewey did, by intent or otherwise, it could have gone either way. He was a prefect cat for the purpose and finding another would not be an easy task. Dewey was nice and now he is gone, that's all there is to it. If people don't like the decision, get your own library or join the board and help make all the tough decisions, like paying all the bill in tough times.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 6:24 PM
  • I grew up in Spencer. Just like many others, I was fascinated by the book about Dewey and how many lives he touched. I, too, find it ludicrous that the Corcoran family could claim severe allergies to cats, but appear in a library that had housed one for so many years and had not been "decontaminated." Odd that they had no trouble attending that meeting in that horrificly "contaminated" atmosphere.

    The board should have had the courage to admit to their REAL reason for denying another animal. My daughter attends a school that has used animals in their libraries for the students to read to and communicate with. What a difference these animals make in the lives of the children. Imagine, a world without therapy dogs! My friend raises dogs for this express purpose and has brought joy to many confined people with the help of the animals.

    I am sick at heart to learn of this decision and the "democratic" process that was used to arrive at it. I am also ashamed of my hometown and agree that any proceeds from the book should not be used in any way to benefit the library. Ill gotten gains, you know.

    -- Posted by Catie on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 7:05 PM
  • I myself have allergies to cats and I do have ONE only ONE in my house. I have tried two and my allergies get worse but for some reason I can handle one. So yes even cat lovers who have allergies still have them in their house.

    This is not so much about the allergies, or even a cat in the library, it is about 3 people walking into a place and taking over, that is really what happened. Shame on these 3 people who will probably never set foot in the library ever again.

    There are many other allergies out there. How many of us have allergies to smoke but no matter where we went there was smoke, a restaraunt, bar, stores, you name it there was SMOKE. It took more than one board meeting to get the no smoking law passed. But yet again, if I wanted to go out and eat, or shop or go to a bar to watch a game, it was my choice to go into that eating establishment or bar knowing that it would stir up my allergies, but I dealt with them because I knew I was only one person among many. And that is my point, why does this change just because of 3 people. I agree this action that the board took gives Spencer a black eye. I also agree that if there is no cat and no cats ever again, then the library, or the town of Spencer should not go ahead with the movie about the town cat, nor should they accept any money that would be made off of Dewey.

    Hummmm......wonder what Dewey is thinking????? Probably turning over in his grave, and now this makes his death even sadder that the place he called home, turned away one of his own kind.

    That is just to sad.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Fri, Jan 9, 2009, at 9:10 PM
  • I have been reading the posts and I agree with all of the people who think this was a bad decision. I myself am very allergic to cats and various other things, but I visited the library on numerous occasions and never had a problem, no I was not able to cuddle up to Dewey, I would have loved to, but I knew I couldn't. My allergies did not stop me from going there and I must say my allergies are extremely bad.

    For the board to listen to three people, and make a decision based on those three people is absolutely ridiculous. If those people have such a problem with a cat in the library, how do they go anywhere, there are animals all over the place, outside, inside, no matter where you go there is some sort of animal. They were at the board meeting and had no problems, and I know from experience that if you have allergies that bad, you would not beable to go into a place that has not been totally cleaned, removing carpet, etc. without having problems.

    Come on people, just because you don't like cats, doesn't mean we need to eliminate something that brought joy to so many people.

    Maybe we should just eliminate all the enjoyable things, so some people can go anywhere and not have a problem.

    -- Posted by uptown on Sat, Jan 10, 2009, at 8:14 AM
  • No money is being made from Dewey by the Library, unless you count the post cards they sell. Spencer has nothing to say one way or the other with the book (new ones to come) or any possible movie, that is all up to Vicki and her agent and publisher as well movie producers, all of which will divide up any proceeds. Spencer nor the library make any thing from the cat they housed, he was a gift to the world paid for by Vicki (as I understand) and the tax payers of Spencer Iowa.

    When the board agreed to allow Dewey to stay at the library they did so not knowing how it might turn out. I have had numerous cats and no two are alike. They had no way of knowing people would like the idea. But it became a success that may not be repeated if they tried. Some cats are just a unpleasant to some and might have to be removed. Wouldn't that be fun?

    People who want cats so desperately should find an abandoned cat and take it in and care for it. They should not expect others to do it for them or at the expense of the allergic.

    I have no exact number about how many people are sensitive to cats, but they have as much right to the library as any one else. One thing is true, not having a cat in the library will not prevent anyone from using the facility. Let's be fair and let the cats sleep in peace.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Sat, Jan 10, 2009, at 6:16 PM
  • Some of the people posting that are allergic to cats probably do have cats, which I am and did get a cat at a local humane society. That is not the issue here. If we want cats we will go and get our own also. What people are upset about is that these 3 people claimed horrible allergies but sat in the library and had no problems what so ever, even after the library had no special cleaning. Come on....Also no one is looking at Paige to "replace" Dewey, nor could she, what they wanted was for things to be the same...for some it was a place where they could come and feel special if Dewey picked their lap to sit on. For some lonely people Dewey brought comfort, maybe after a loved one had died, a widow or widower, a mother who had lost a child or someone who may be facing life's struggles of loosing a job or their battle to cancer. Pets are therapy they use pets many places to lower blood pressures, release stress and many other medical problems. So those of you who were worried about Dewey being replaced, he can't and never will be replaced, but give one of his own a chance. Not everyone posting on here are cat lovers I assume, we are just asking that the board do the right thing. I believe that the board is no different than the person who left Paige or Dewey outside, because now they "got rid" of their pet, even though Paige maybe went to a good home, her first home was the Library!

    -- Posted by allaboard on Sat, Jan 10, 2009, at 6:34 PM
  • what a loss! Who knows maybe another Dewey was going to bless Spencer once again but now we will never know will we?

    -- Posted by gdufres on Sat, Jan 10, 2009, at 9:26 PM
  • Not all cats cause allergies. Long haired cats are usually the worst. Cats need to be brushed on a daily basis to get rid of loose hair. Also there are many allergy wipes on the market that you wipe down the cat with that takes a lot of dander away. I think some of you people are allergic to common sense. I have known many businesses that have a dog laying around in them and it is ok by me. I lived in spencer at the time Dewey was left in the drop box and I just finished reading the book. Why is it now that the library is all of a sudden better with out another cat???? Or is it the snob people that run the town?????? I am glad the new kitty has a good home. I wish more people would go to People for Pets and adopt or become foster parents. These animals also need good homes. If you can't do either--then donate your time or money to a good cause. All the people that work there are unpaid volunteers and they do a great job!!!

    -- Posted by iowagirl on Sat, Jan 10, 2009, at 10:41 PM
  • I live in a large metropolitan city that would never allow an animal to live in a library. Poor Dewey would have ended up in a high kill animal shelter and been euthanized, because living in the county library would not have been an option. I thought it was so wonderful that the town of Spencer could allow a beautiful animal to touch the lives of so many people. I guess that's why the book became a best seller. My heart is broken, after reading this article, that a small town like yours is now no better than the heartless big city I live in, filled with whining self-serving people who think the 99% of the population should bend to the will of the remaining 1%. God help us all...

    -- Posted by catlover on Sat, Jan 10, 2009, at 11:03 PM
  • In a time when children are reading below grade level and many adults aren't reading at all, anything that brings people into a library should be welcomed with open arms and hearts.

    Certainly there are a few people who are truly allergic to pet dander, but very few are as allergic as they think they are. In fact, if the researchers look alittle further, they will find that children exposed to allergens develop fewer allergies as adults.

    Dogs, cats, and other creatures are widely accepted by hospitals, nursing homes, and occasionally prisons because of their theraputic effects on even the sickest of patients, frailest of the elderly, and most hardened of the criminal.

    A Library Cat (or Dog) who will listen to children read, share a moment of love with the lonely or bring a smile to the sad shouldn't be dismissed out of hand because of some misinterpretaion of ADA restrictions. Just because I can't sky dive or run a marathon or read Italian doesn't mean those things should be denied everyone.

    The image of Spencer, Iowa that I loved and identified with in the book, "Dewey", has been diminished by the council's no-pet decree. What a sad day when we realize that Camelot really doesn't exist.

    -- Posted by BookLover on Sun, Jan 11, 2009, at 11:24 AM
  • I just wanted to take a moment to defend myself a little bit. Everyone is always going to have an opinion on every subject no matter what it is. No matter what the decision would have been, not everyone would have been happy.

    I agree with some of the comments that animals are theraputic. I am not an animal hater just to make that clear. For people that actually know me, you will know that I am quite fond of all animals. This subject quite frankly had nothing to do with anyones preferance of animals.

    I am in deed allergic to cats. Very allergic to be exact. No I did not show signs of symptoms after having been at the library. I am also the one in my family that shows the worst of the symptoms. Not everyone has to be deathly allergic to have it cause them problems. It has been two years since he has been there and it still gets regular cleaning. I was also only in the building for a short period of time. I am the first to know how dander and things stay around. For anyone who had allergies knows that the longer you are around something the more your symptoms will show and progress.

    I personaly don't feel that I or any member of my family or freinds should not be able to go to a public place, expecially one as important as a library because it causes medical problems. Again it is not because I don't like cats.

    I think that people are not giving the board members enough credit. They had researched themselves. The had spoken to people in the public prior to this. The are intelligent people and basically had already had their minds made up before we even spoke. They just extended the courtousy of allowing us to speak because we took the time to come in.

    The last point I want to make is that I had the courage to actually go in person to the board meeting. I showed my face on behalf of something I believe in. Those who are posting aren't even using their names.

    Kelsey Corcoran

    -- Posted by kelsey on Sun, Jan 11, 2009, at 3:33 PM
  • There are a few of people who do know those people personally who went in front of the board and this is not the fist time they have tried to cause waves.

    Kelsey it was YOU, who said you were very allergic to cats, we didn't assume that. I for one am fairly allergic to cats and even if I go into a house where there has been cats or dogs, I will develop symptoms almost right away.

    That again is OUR point, you said you are the one in your family that shows the WORST symptoms, and you said "you didn't have any symptoms" our point exactly! You were also the one who said you were "very allergic to cats that you would end up in the hospital" but yet you went into the library and didn't end up in the hospital. You are now contradicting what you were quoted in the paper. Which is it....are you deathly allergic to cats or not! How many times since Dewey has died have you been or anyone in your family been to the library? I would bet less than a handful. Some of us posting here are animal lovers, some may not be, but it is the prinicpal of the whole thing. No one should accept an animal into their house or place of business and then just get rid of it like that. You don't just "Toss" them out on their heels because you are tired of them etc.

    And as far as people putting their names on here, that is a personal preference. So in the end, their is no need to defend yourself, because you just contradicted yourself, and for those that don't know you......they now do. Your stories change.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Sun, Jan 11, 2009, at 4:25 PM
  • I am very sorry that the raison d'etre for Spencer Iowa's fame is to be squashed. To say that Dewey was irreplaceable is one thing, but to further the opinion that two people in the entire town and their allergies are worth the potential good of a library cat is specious. Oh well, where does the money go when I order postcards of Dewey? I no longer wish to support the library of Spencer and narrow minded opinions.

    -- Posted by on Sun, Jan 11, 2009, at 6:45 PM
  • I purchased the Dewey book, and have been following the story about the new kitty Page, I do not live in Spencer, but I think the board should had voted to have another kitty in the library, I am also allergic to cats, have one at home, and my allergies are not that bad.

    I worked for a children's clinic with different disorders, and they had therapy animals come and visit with the children, and this made those children very happy.

    Is there a way that the Library could reverse its decision and get another Kitty?

    -- Posted by SuLuck on Sun, Jan 11, 2009, at 6:50 PM
  • If I were Kelsey Corcoran, I would be too embarrassed to show my face in town. Her arguments that she is "deathly allergic" to cats but did not suffer undue effects during the 19 years Dewey lived in the library shows that she is just a selfish malcontent. If I understood the incredible impact that Dewey made on my town, I would go visit a neighbouring library stay away from Dewy and be happy for Spencer. I admired your town from afar in Canada, but was proud to be an Iowan by birth. Spencer has lost much of its luster for me.

    -- Posted by on Sun, Jan 11, 2009, at 6:59 PM
  • I agree wit emeyers and suluck. This decision the board made has also put a different spin on Dewey's life and sadly his death. To house Dewey for 19 years and then take on another cat Paige and then turn Paige away after they had agreed to give her a home is unthinkable. You take on a pet, you stay with that decision! Dewey's story now has been soured, and perhaps they should stop the movie camaras. Maybe the library can save face and agree to bring Paige back to her home where she belongs and where she thought she lived.

    Again, maybe when the census is being taken in Spencer it should not take long because we can just tell them that only 3 people live in Spencer, or at least those 3 people think they are the only ones living in Spencer. They need to know there are others who live here and our opinions should count also! Bring Paige back and remove the black cloud the now hangs over the Spencer library. I for one will not grace the steps of the Spencer library, I have no time for hypocrites!

    -- Posted by allaboard on Sun, Jan 11, 2009, at 9:30 PM
  • I am a new Dewey fan just having finished the book last night and was sending editorial today. I have since read the boards decision to not have another cat at the library and am saddened.

    Letter to the Editor:

    First, I would like to state for the record that I am and always will be a cat nut, lover and enthusiast! I sit here wiping my tears away after finishing the book Dewey about your wonderful little orange library cat. As I sat reading his story I felt like I was there seeing him in all his glory with his fans and friends. I only wish I had known about him before he passed as I too would have been one of the pilgrims that made the trek to Spencer to meet this wonderful little guy. I can't put into words how his story has touched me. Can an animal teach us things in life that we as humans should already know? Yes, I believe they can and do if we are only smart enough to learn. Dewey showed how to love unconditionally, be a true friend, confidant and therapist and only asked for a little kibble and rub in return. To Vicki Myron, all the staff, the town of Spencer and the library board I am indebted to you for the memory I will carry forward of Dewey a wonderful little orange library cat. Thank you for sharing him with the world!

    I wish we had a cat at our library!!!

    Lisa Van Den Berg

    Bayfield Colorado

    -- Posted by Lisa Van Den Berg on Mon, Jan 12, 2009, at 12:57 PM
  • I am not hiding behind a pseudonym e-mail name. I would like to challenge "Mr Toad's" comments on Jan 9th. The library did not incur any expenses for Dewey. Vicki and others freely paid for his food and litter and vet bills. The library AND the town of Spencer DID garner a lot of free publicity however. To talk about a cat biting someone or challenging people to 'get their own cats if they want them' is ridiculous. Not germane to the discussion. I do note that nasty people exist all over the world: those who toss out cats or who don't neuter them and cherish them. This was how Dewey and Page were found.

    -- Posted by on Mon, Jan 12, 2009, at 2:46 PM
  • WOW!! I can't believe that some people are soooo selfish! Our family personally drove from Albert City to Spencer, to visit the library MANY times - I have cat allergies myself - not death or life, but allergies none the less. The first time I visited the library, I just went to check it out, my daughter's came running over to me, eyes just a sparkling, saying, "Mommy! They have a cat here!" I said okay and all was good. I can't count the number of times we would go to Spencer and she would ask to go see the cat. I work in school systems and anything that will encourage children to read is a blessing. My brother-in-law and daughter-in-law are extremely allergic to cats - and have told me that they are fine coming to our house (we had 2 at the time) as long as they take their allergy medicine.

    What a sad passage of events for Dewey to bring people into the library and then be told that a whole THREE people didn't come because of him, so therefore, Paige isn't allowed ....

    It's extremely heartbreaking to know that others won't see the sparkle in childrens eyes as they say, "There's a cat in here!"

    -- Posted by granny58 on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 11:24 AM
  • I began reading your on-line news after reading Dewey, the Small Town Cat. I never had the pleasure of visiting your community while Dewey was alive, but I admired a town that might have been small in numbers but seemed big in heart.

    It is therefore sad to read that there might not ever be a resident library cat in Spencer again. As I recall in the book, this issue of cat dander allergies came up when Dewey appeared and the library was checked thoroughly, kept clean, and there was no issue. Nothing in 19 years ever was a problem if the book is correct.

    Could it be that this is really just a cover for some other agenda?

    I live in a town that's larger in size with a much bigger library. It would just not be a place where a cat could reasonably be expected to live--which is a shame for all those children who learn so much from having an animal present in such an environment. We did have a used bookstore on Main Street for many years with a resident cat.

    I wish Spencer the best and hope that, at some point, the library board will reconsider. One board's decision can always be reversed by another board. That's the way of the democratic legislative process.

    Your town may not realize it, but you all became known to the rest of us as special in the heartland of America. We tend to forget that you do feed us. That if it weren't for you in Iowa, Kansas, the Dakotas, Minnesota, we wouldn't have it nearly as good as we do.

    So. Thank you to Spencer and the rest of Iowa for being our bread basket. (Southerners do like corn bread a lot). And thank you for allowing a Dewey to be in your library for so long. Times change but I hope hearts don't.

    -- Posted by Southern Reader on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 3:29 PM
  • I find it very sad that the library board voted down having another library cat. Granted, there will never be another Dewey, but, what a loss to the Spencer Public Library and its staff and patrons. Too bad a few dissenters changed what was a wonderful and lovely tradition.

    My husband and I rescue ferals and strays, and granted several cats are a lot of work, but one cat with several care-givers and a nightly janitorial service is a piece of cake. I wish you would reconsider the wonders that Dewey Readmore Books did for your library and patrons.

    We live in California and read Vicki Myron's wonderful biography. Dewey was indeed a miracle.


    Susan Alcott Jardine

    -- Posted by Susanajardine on Tue, Jan 13, 2009, at 11:42 PM
  • Back when I lived in spencer it was a small town. Now that it is getting bigger so is the "snobbery". It seems there is still a hand full of people running the town.

    -- Posted by iowagirl on Wed, Jan 14, 2009, at 11:27 AM
  • I read with sadness that the Spencer Public Libary board has voted on a permanent prohibition against pets in the library. I enjoyed Vicki Myron's book, and I think that it presents a positive image of the library and the people of Spencer. The board's decision makes Spencer appear to be a community with more than a few Grinches. I can understand about libraries being for everyone, and a matter of access. However, when Kelsey Corcoran stated that she was unable to visit the library her whole school career because of Dewey, it doesn't say whether she tried and had an allergic reaction, or whether she was so convinced that it would be unsuccessful that she didn't try. I suspect that it was the latter. Clearly, Dewey was much more than just an ordinary cat, and he could never be replaced anyway. I just think that it's sad that people would would have visited the libary in order to see the cat will not have a reason to come and maybe stick around for the books.

    -- Posted by Ann in Iowa on Wed, Jan 14, 2009, at 12:51 PM
  • I agree with Ann from Iowa and granny 58. Humm you mean the Kelsey never went into that library the whole time she attended school, don't believe that. Why did she go into the library now? Don't believe that if she never went as a child that she would start going now.

    Also with granny58, I believe that Dewey probably brought people into the library just to see him and then they picked up a paper or a book to read while they visited him.

    In a world now when high school test scores are down and some high school students have reading skills much lower than their grade level, I believe that Dewey may have encourage those "non readers" to want to read and read more.

    It is sad again to know that animals and pets once again take a back seat to humans.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Wed, Jan 14, 2009, at 9:48 PM
  • I have had many discussions with Vicky Myron about Dewey, and what it took for the Library to keep him. The staff was responsible for his care and that alone takes time and costs money. I have cats in my home and business, I love having them but it takes time out of my day, that costs money. The library must have incurred the same staff time for him, he was not free to the Spencer tax payer. So lets get that straight right now.

    The Corcoran girls are allergic and one stated, it the news paper article, she could only tolerate the space now after two years of cleaning. She was not able to use the facility all during her school years since she says it would have put her in the hospital. Why do the responders question the statements of this family as though they are spinning yarns and confused about their own situation? Can't we take them at their word? they have every right to complain, so let them. Don't take them as some sort of kill joys, they just want to use the library as do all of you and I, so let them!

    The library board made a decision, if you aren't happy with that decision, write them letters. If enough people complain in a way that will get heard, then possibly they will change their vote. These things can be reversed. Please stop attacking people for trying to do what they believe to be the fair thing to be. If all those who want cats in the library got the vet and food bills maybe they would feel differently. and as for the cat biting issue, yes, I have had conversations with people who were bit by Dewey.

    Please try to understand that having a cat in the library did not make people in Spencer saints. Not having a cat in our library does not make us devils. The people of Spencer are practical and friendly. We weren't trying to make money off of Dewey, or become internationally famous. We just had a cat in the library for a few years. It was the rest of the world that made a big deal out of it.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Thu, Jan 15, 2009, at 11:04 AM
  • Dewey put this town and library on the map! Who knew about either of these places until Dewey's story got out? Great, cheap publicity with enough warmth to make even the grouchiest library patron smile!

    I feel the Library Board is way off base with this decision. Studies prove pets help people handle life--they remove the tension of everyday living and give us reasons to smile. As for the family who couldn't use the library(the child had not been able to come practically her whole life)--pet owners know pet hair, etc. remains forever if "deep" cleaning isn't done. Evidently the library just did normal cleaning, which is all anyone would expect. If the family could come in after Dewey died, they could have come in while he me, my son had severe allergies and we just stayed away from those things that triggered them. As long as the child wasn't close to Dewey, petting him, etc. she would probably not have been bothered. It may have been a perception thing.

    People in my library would enjoy an animal, unfortunately we have an alarm system it would trigger after hours.

    -- Posted by g'smom on Thu, Jan 15, 2009, at 11:38 AM
  • This is to Mr. Toad: You have got to be kidding about the amount of time it takes to care for a cat. I have had cats all my life. I was a breeder of show quality Siamese cats for many years. I currently have one Siamese male cat. The time it takes for one cat is minimal. Putting out food and water and cleaning out a litter pan. At the most, it would take 10 minutes a day - if that. Are you saying that 10 minutes a day divided among several staff members is a monetary burden on the taxpayers of Spencer??? You are obviously missing the point of most of this discussion. The good will that the town of Spencer received because of Dewey cannot be reduced to "we had a cat in the library for a few years". As far as the cost - it is my understanding that all the costs for food and vet bills was not paid for by the town of Spencer or the library. It was paid for by Vicki Myron and donations.

    As for as taking these 3 people at their word - no, I can't, because what they are saying does not make any sense. Either they or the library board used their allergy issue as an excuse to prohibit all future pets at the library. But to say someone is so allergic that they would end up in the hospital and then to go inside the same building and stay for an entire meeting without any symptoms - that is not reasonable and no thinking person would believe it. If the library board wanted to prohibit all pets, that is their right to do so. But to try to blame it on allergies and some kind of misreading of the ADA, that is what irritates a lot of people.

    If this was something that was going to be a consensus issue, then the whole town should have voted on it. But for the library board to take 3 peoples' statement and use it to make such a broad prohibition is not going to sit well with many people. I don't know any of the people involved, so this is not personal. But, I do know a lot of people who use their "medical conditions" as excuses for things they do not want to do or as reasons to limit their activities, whether they are warranted or not. I wish all of you well and I hope that the library of Spencer continues to prosper, but having a cat at their facility is what made it special - not the taxpayers. There are thousands of libraries all over the country that are begging people to come in and use the facilities. They try all kinds of programs to get people in the doors - all you had was one small cat and he did what hundreds of librarians all over the country can't do. But, according to your own words: "We just had a cat in the library for a few years. It was the rest of the world that made a big deal out of it." Now the rest of the world is making a big deal out of the fact that you DON'T have a cat in your library.

    -- Posted by alclubb on Thu, Jan 15, 2009, at 4:37 PM
  • I agree with alclubb and prehaps a few of the reasons people are making a "big Stink" about this issue is for a few reasons. 1) The board only looked at 3 people and their so called complaints. 2) Some of us know the 2 or 3 people that complained and know them to be just that "complainers"

    I also have a cat and can say that it does not take that much time to clean the litter and put out food and water....let's get real, it is not like feeding or cleaning up after a herd of cattle. And as far as feeding the cat I read in the book that they were offered food from some cat food companies but Dewey didn't like it and ate only fancy feast. I am sure Dewey got feed somehow and as I remember reading in the book I thought it was pointed out that at no time was money from the library spent on Dewey. Vicki bought his food and whatever else he needed, or treats were sent from around the world or donations were given.

    Spencer Library jumped the gun for some reason and probably shouldn't have but they were manipulated by 3 people into making the wrong decision. Yes they should reverse the decision, plain and simple.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Thu, Jan 15, 2009, at 5:22 PM
  • I think you miss my point. The statement was made that "I would like to challenge "Mr Toad's" comments on Jan 9th. The library did not incur any expenses for Dewey." This is most untrue. If the paid staff only spent 10 minutes a day, as was suggested here, on his care, then by your own admission that would come to 1,152 hours during his life. And at only $5.00 per hour (redicously low figure, BTW) he cost the library budget $5,763.30. Now in times when the library is cutting hours, as it did recently, eliminating Sunday hours entirely. That does hurt access for many people. The cost of a cat would be minimal it's true. I would definately contribute to such a fund. I loved having Dewey in there as much as anyone. But not being on the board and since the paper did not cover all the discussion, we must assume they did what they thought was right.

    Go ahead and crucify a town of nice people for the decision of a few. assume there are only three people who could not go there out of 11,000, plus the surrounding 5,000 people that use Spencer's facility. Call us ignorant cat haters. But if you come here you will see that people are the same all over and are concerned for the public as a hole. I suppose out of 16,000 people that 10 percent are allergic and of them 30 percent cannot sit and read a book with a cat nearby. That is only about 500 people. Now if that included you then maybe you would begin to understand the Library Boards decision.

    Having a cat in a public facility does limit it's use by some, and there is no doubt about that fact. I know that the responders here are all Dewey lovers, as am I. But I know there were many who could not go there at all, and that's not fair either. I'm sorry we may not have another cat in the library, I just appreciate the reasons why.

    ps, Spencer was very well known before Dewey, just not for the Dewey reason.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Thu, Jan 15, 2009, at 6:34 PM
  • @ Mr Toad- I find your comment *"ps, Spencer was very well known before Dewey, just not for the Dewey reason."* laughable, at best. I grew up in a neighboring town, and went to a state-owned university. When asked where I hailed from, my response of my hometown usually netted blank stares, which wasn't surprising since its tiny. Next, I usually tried Spencer- still blank stares. It was only when I moved on to "the Okoboji area" that I got some glimmer of recognition, but many times I had to move on to "you know, northeast of Sioux City?" before people caught on. And this was within the state of Iowa! I ask you, what is Spencer so "well-known" for?

    On another note (and, Toad, I'm not necessarily accusing you of this)- it seems that a problem with many Spencer residents these days is a misguided feeling of being better than others. In my experience, this mainly stems from residing in the "big city" of the area. When I lived in the area, this afflicted many of the people I came across, not ruling out members of a church I attended. Students of area high schools were looked down upon for being "hicks" (when Spencer is mainly a farming community!), even adults weren't friendly to adults from neighboring communities. I experienced both of these, and this "big-headed" self-important attitude in this community has only gotten worse since the Dewey book came out. Granted, I have met and done business with countless fine people from Spencer, and have met plenty of asshats from neighboring communities. However, I think its something Spencer residents need to work on; some need to step outside their "boxes" and realize that a world exists outside Spencer, Iowa. This debate is a prime example of such- there are much more important things going on in the world, and even Spencer, than whether or not a cat will live at a library. Just my 2 (or 5) cents worth.

    -- Posted by notinia on Thu, Jan 15, 2009, at 7:10 PM
  • To Mr Toad~ Do you know for a fact that the "library staff" cared for Dewey? From what I read in the book (if the book is true)Vicki came in every morning while Dewey watched her from the front door, she then had to go back to his room and give him his food, etc. And on weekends or long breaks she took him home to her house. So again....I find it hard to believe that the library staff if they did care for him that it amounted to any money. I also remember reading in the book that other staff would talk and play with him or let him eat their yogurt on their break. And let me many times at our own jobs have we took time and stood around for 10, 15, 20 minutes doing nothing, and we get paid for that. I don't believe for one second that the staff was paid to take care of Dewey. And I agree with notinia that when you mention Spencer to some people they don't really have a clue, they usually ask...."Is that anywhere near Spirit Lake"? So I am not so sure that Spencer was all that well know before Dewey, but I am not saying that Dewey put them on the map either, but Dewey I believe perked up many ears and maybe some people in Spencer can learn something from this quiet cat.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Thu, Jan 15, 2009, at 10:02 PM
  • I agree with "allaboard" on the statements about how much taking care of Dewey cost the town of Spencer in staff time. I wasn't there every day so I can't say for certain, but just reading the book gave me the impression that the people in the town of Spencer and the staff of the library were upstanding, honest people. If that is the case, I would think that they, like a lot of people, got to work a little earlier than their work hours required. If so, I would guess that they probably put out Dewey's food and cleaned out his litter pan before hours and on their own time.

    BUT, even if you take Mr. Toad's calculations that it cost the town of Spencer $5,763.30 over a 19 year period, that comes out to about $.83 a day. How much would it cost for a daily ad in the local newspaper or the radio to advertise the library's programs? I'll just bet it would be more than $.83. The publicity that Dewey gave the library is certainly worth more than $.83 a day. In fact, if you look at it from the point of view that Dewey was a public relations figure, then he should have been PAID by the town for his services. For every postcard of Dewey that is bought at $1.50 each, that pays for 2 days of Dewey's life at the library. Surely, the money from the postcard sales and the tax money and other influx of money from tourists coming just because of Dewey has offset any expense of time that the staff spent taking care of him.

    I live in a metropolitan area of Texas that has roughly 6 million people, and I can say with a good degree of certainty, that even as jaded as we are, if there was a library in the area that had a cat in it, people would go just to see him. Too bad it's Spencer's loss.

    -- Posted by alclubb on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 7:52 AM
  • Not to be-labor the point but Spencer was chosen as the number one most favorable small city in the USA to relocate to. And has been on that list of top ten and else where in the top twenty for several years running.

    I would not forget the Clay County fair , located in Spencer, which draws almost one half a million people in the second week of September every year and out sizes many state fairs.

    Spencer was chosen as a "Great Place" by the state of Iowa last fall. A distinction earned by only twenty places in the state.

    I am surprised to hear that people in Iowa wonder where Spencer is, but then I recall that much of the state ignores NW Iowa altogether.

    I think most people in Spencer are nice amiable folk who are proud to be from a well run small city that has worked hard to have expensive services that many other small cities wish they had. Are Spencer people snobs? I don't think they are any worse than people who have a great lake or the best athletic team, or some other small city big-head. Are people from Iowa too proud? Far from it. Too often they are the last to brag about themselves. Maybe that's why Spencer has not made a big deal about Dewey. Vicky had to be begged to write her book and even then she would only agree if she had a co-writer.

    Spencer isn't making a big deal about Dewey because the people were just happy to see him there and thought it not so strange. We have several cats that are work cats. I have always tried to keep a cat around all the time, at work and at home. I keep them on a leash when they go out to keep them away from cars and protect the birds. But does my work cat earn me more than he costs me? Not at all. I love my giant male tabby. But I can't sit down without him jumping on my lap. He sheds like crazy, claws things, and must have a bit of food put in his dish every time I pass the food. He is a picky eater, must lay his 16 pounds on your left shoulder only, and he still sprays. Though he has been fixed, and that forces me to constantly cover things toss ruined items out and try to understand that it's only his nature.

    I know that Dewey happened to be a benefit to the town. That he was cheep advertising once the book. I will miss him every time I go into the library, and can't go in there without thinking about him.

    I hope we can all enjoy what he did by just being a cat, and not beat each other up over his absence.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 10:01 AM
  • I begrudge you your point regarding the CC Fair, but being named a "great place" in Iowa is hardly a marker of fame. I also would like to state that I said nothing of Iowans in general (I am one! Well, was, but that's a different story) being this way.

    Anyway, I stand by my original sentiment that some residents of Spencer seem to enjoy treating members of other communities like peasants from neighboring feudal villages. Several of the other school districts in the area have a sort of close-knit network of teacher-sharing, sports rivalries, and circles of friends, and my classmates and I were not the only ones who felt this way, even years ago. This same generation of Spencer students (and their parents) are still in the area in many cases, and have perpetuated the attitude among the adult population.

    Regardless of my opinion of or experiences with some (notice I said SOME, not all) of Spencer's population, I think it would greatly benefit the community of Spencer as well as the area as a whole to look outside northwest Iowa. Perhaps once everyone realizes that while we may be close to the geographical center of the US, we are nowhere near its cultural center, we may be better equipped to treat others as we desire to be treated.

    -- Posted by notinia on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 10:33 AM
  • I and many of my friends have lived elsewhere for decades. I knew Omaha and parts of Arizona as home and visited every state but eight. We bring influences from across the planet as residents of Spencer, to the theater, art gallery, museum, and shops. Many of our adults had attended college in metropolitan areas, so there is some outside influences here. I know some who spent months searching for a great place to live and chose Spencer.

    You may not know this, but hundreds of places in Iowa have applied to be a Great Place. It's not easy, and Spencer was selected as a cream of the crop choice.

    One million cars a year pass through Spencer, so people do know of the place. It's just that the name is now a little larger. Will some communities see this as a reason to criticize the town? Probably, that goes with the territory. Does Spencer contain snobs? Probably...get them to stop...

    My only point is/was that People knew about this town long before the book. But thanks for asking, we were happy being nowhere too.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 11:58 AM
  • This will be my last comment, as we seem to be going round and round, and the original story now has little to do with this discussion. I will only say that my point wasn't that others, such as yourself, aren't bringing culture/ outside experiences to Spencer. My point was that many are unwilling to consider those things as a part of their existence, which seems to be limited to being a citizen of the "cream of the crop" town in NW Iowa, and all the glory that it holds. Those are the folks I have a problem with, and those are the folks that I all to often have encountered in Spencer over the years. Its probably partially a remnant of my childhood/teenage experiences with my peers and their parents in Spencer, but its my opinion that if several others around you are sharing the same bad dream, chances are, its not really a dream.

    -- Posted by notinia on Fri, Jan 16, 2009, at 4:09 PM
  • The staff took complete care of Dewey-- the book don't "lie". The city paid NOTHING! Dewey never hurt any one. The kids loved him and were more attentive to their story hours when Dewey was with them. They knew that if they were loud that Dewey would leave the room--which he did. My kids went there when they were young and loved it.Everything in the book about Dewey is true and any one that thinks any different is wrong!To you people who asked if the employees were getting paid to care Dewey--they cared for him on their time-which is more than a lot of you would do.I am sure it didn't take but a minute to care for him! It don't take long to feed a cat and change the cat litter.Why be so critical???????? the book put spencer on the map more and more. The Spencer fair also put it on the map years ago!

    -- Posted by iowagirl on Sat, Jan 17, 2009, at 10:52 AM
  • Just because there was one Dewey, and he brought "fame" to Spencer for the first time, everyone now has to whine about the decision to not have another cat. This is ridiculous. Stop attacking the library board and the people who spoke up. Where were you for the board meeting????? Why weren't you there to support animals in the library???? You didn't do anything before the decision was made, and now you want to talk about it. It's too late. You should have done something earlier. It's your own fault. It's time to stop whining. Let time work things out, and maybe at some point, if someone is generous, you can get a fish tank, or something else calming and soothing in the library. It's hard enough to keep it going with the dollars they have, so take it upon yourselves to make something else happen.

    -- Posted by army-mom on Sat, Jan 17, 2009, at 1:41 PM
  • iowagirl, you said, "Not all cats cause allergies. Long haired cats are usually the worst." Dewey was a long haired cat. Then you said,"Cats need to be brushed on a daily basis to get rid of loose hair." Who would do this brushing, along with the other things that take some small amount of time? Then you said, "The staff took complete care of Dewey-- the book don't "lie". The city paid NOTHING!" So who do you think pays the library staff? THE CITY DOES! Vicki has told me that she and the staff enjoyed taking care of Dewey. That is not very expensive, but it does add up over time. A new cat would become a staff responsibility since Vicky is now gone. The board knows this. Who will supply the allergy wipes you mentioned? Maybe you could buy them for the allergic library users, they can't cost much. I lived in Spencer longer ago than Dewey, there were over 12,500 people here then. Now there are 11,000, how is that getting bigger?

    Un fortunately when Dewey got older he did get a little cranky, and yes he did bite a few people, it is true. Not a hard bite, and I think he may have been in pain, that is all I can say to that. I doubt that you could have perfect information on all his daily actions.

    You are a good spokesman for the concept of what Dewey represented and I thank you for that, but now he is gone. That doesn't make us evil snobs.

    I wish people would go to People for Pets and adopt a cat or dog too. I also wish people would stop leaving unwanted pets out on the roadside. As for "the snobs that run Spencer", they just want every one who needs a library in their lives to be able to have one, weather they are a cat lover or are a cat lover who is allergic to cats.

    Please don't judge our residents based upon weather or not we keep a cat in our library, we are probably more complex than that.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Sat, Jan 17, 2009, at 2:00 PM
  • What is up with the fish tank idea??? Then who will take care of the fish???? Who will feed the fish, supply the food and who will clean the tank. I had a fish tank and have had cats, believe me fish are much more work than cats. It takes longer to clean a fish tank than it does a little box. Scratch that idea for sure. For Mr Toad who is worried about paying the library staff to care for Dewey he would "croak" over paying the library staff to clean the fish tank. And the constant electricity it would take to run the fish tank light and the heater and the water pump.

    Don't stand in judgement of us who are posting saying we didn't do anything to keep the cat there, perhaps some of us did and some of us didn't. But seemed the only ones they listened to were the ones the Whined and wimpered about their "so called allergies" which I question again to this day because of new developments that I have become aware of regarding these whiners. Those three people will never set foot in the library again, I would bet, so the ones that will pay for their whinning are the ones who went to the library to see Dewey or Paige and then maybe picked up a book to read while they were there visiting the cats. Those will be the ones who the library really let down.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Sat, Jan 17, 2009, at 9:24 PM
  • I just finished reading the book about Dewey. I have to say I am appalled by "Mr. Toad", the Corcorans and the board. The library's attendance was not very high before Dewey came along. It is fact that Dewey brought a lot of people into the library, far more came because of him, than would have come had he never been there. Dewey was an asset to the town. Those who had allergies that bad, had alternative libraries they could go to. I am allergic to cigarette smoke, I am not given any special rights such as banning cigarettes from public places, so if you were allergic to Dewey, it was your right to stay away from the library as I stay away from public places where smoking takes place. He brought far more joy to people than he did damage to those who had allergies. I think the Cocorans, Mr. Toad and the Board are selfish. If anything should be replaced in Spencer, I think it should be the Board. There are far more out there in favor of Dewey than those who want to disparage a small innocent cat. To the Cocorans, you should be ashamed of yourself. You are nothing but trouble makers. Grow up.

    Thank you Vicki for all your hard work all those years in the library and for the love you gave to Dewey and the love you and Dewey shared with everyone who walked through the Spencer Library doors. He is a legacy and is loved by all who read his book and knew him.

    P.S. If they do a thorough cleaning in the library, you can send all the dander and hair to me. I won't be offended by it.

    -- Posted by doberlov on Sun, Jan 18, 2009, at 11:19 AM
  • I just finished reading Dewey & I LOVE the book and what everyone did for this one special cat. (Not to mention what he did for Spencer)

    It is a great book with lots of love.

    I think the town should do what most of Spencer Library users want (providing the staff is up for it.) But just remember, no other cat can ever be the same or have the exact same effect as Dewey had. They are all special in their own way.

    God Bless,

    Thank you for taking such good care of a small town kitty when he needed it most. ~Lisa

    -- Posted by Lisa K. on Sun, Jan 18, 2009, at 12:03 PM
  • I never heard of Dewey until last week when I ran into the book. I just finished reading it last night and the tears poured. I think it is a well known fact, far more people came to the library after Dewey came to live there. I think Mr. Toad, the Corcorans and the Board should be ashamed of themeselves. There were far more people for Dewey than against. I have a very strong sensitivity to cigarette smoke, but has cigarette smoking in public been banned for me? No. I just stay away from businesses that allow smoking, just like the Corcorans and others who were sensitive to cats should have stayed away from the library.There were other local libraries that could accommodate those who were allergic. There were many who were allergic who said as long as they didn't touch Dewey,they were fine. I think Mr. Toad, the board and the Corcorans are very selfish people, looking out only for themselves instead of seeing the joy this cat brought to far many others. I think the Board should be replaced.

    I would like to thank Vicki for her hard work all those years in the library and for the love she shared with Dewey and the love they gave so many people for so many years. They are both a real asset to the public and mankind. I never had the pleasure of knowing Dewey, but after reading about him, he will live forever in my heart.

    I have entered a floral business and a nursery business that had cats milling about and it brings comfort to me to see them about and curled up sleeping. To those of you who don't like it, grow up.

    -- Posted by doberlov on Sun, Jan 18, 2009, at 1:19 PM
  • To doberlove, let's suppose that as you say with smoking, "I just stay away from businesses that allow smoking" there is only one library within thirty miles of your city run library. They allow smoking, you will need to drive all that way to use the closest library so that the smokers can have their way. That is what you are asking those who can't be around cats to do. It isn't the same since a business with smoke and or cats is not publicly owned. There may only be one in your town, like Spencer for example. There have been 19 years that a cat was allowed to push people out of the public library in our town. We can now let those people use their library for a few years without a cat, since fairness seems to be the primary issue with some such as yourself.

    I am surprised at the idea that so many book lovers are cold to the needs of some readers, that they would ban as many as 500 people from what they need and are expected to pay for. If you were in a wheel chair and couldn't get in the library you would have your constitutional rights denied to you. I see no difference here. It was not three people who complained about Dewey, one lady complained constantly saying she should be able to bring in her pet cow in as well! And as a smoker I would like to have been able to exercise that privilege too. Where does it all end? Let's let every reader in the doors again!

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Sun, Jan 18, 2009, at 2:43 PM
  • I never heard of Dewey until last week when I ran into the book. I just finished reading it last night and the tears poured. I think it is a well known fact, far more people came to the library after Dewey came to live there. I think Mr. Toad, the Corcorans and the Board should be ashamed of themeselves. There were far more people for Dewey than against. I have a very strong sensitivity to cigarette smoke, but has cigarette smoking in public been banned for me? No. I just stay away from businesses that allow smoking, just like the Corcorans and others who were sensitive to cats should have stayed away from the library.There were other local libraries that could accommodate those who were allergic. There were many who were allergic who said as long as they didn't touch Dewey,they were fine. I think Mr. Toad, the board and the Corcorans are very selfish people, looking out only for themselves instead of seeing the joy this cat brought to far many others. I think the Board should be replaced.

    I would like to thank Vicki for her hard work all those years in the library and for the love she shared with Dewey and the love they gave so many people for so many years. They are both a real asset to the public and mankind. I never had the pleasure of knowing Dewey, but after reading about him, he will live forever in my heart.

    I have entered a floral business and a nursery business that had cats milling about and it brings comfort to me to see them about and curled up sleeping. To those of you who don't like it, grow up.

    -- Posted by doberlov on Sun, Jan 18, 2009, at 4:42 PM
  • The library board should be egalitarian in considering all the library patrons. After probably the not well-publicized Jan. 8 meeting where individuals objected to another library cat, a unanimous decision was made to ban a future library cat. Usually only disgruntled people attend meetings -- supporters rarely do. It appears audience objection was based on unsubstantiated and incomplete information, and the board was relying on incomplete and poorly-researched information themselves. It really sounds like the decision to ban a cat was made prior to the meeting. Those attending simply reinforced the decision. The board should have tabled the issue until it was more carefully evaluated. Some factors to be considered -- how do current library circulation and visitors' figures compare to when Dewey was there; what was done in the past at the library to accommodate allergic visitors; what library services are available to people who will never be able to visit the library; are users willing (poll them) to forgo another unique, welcoming cat and goodwill ambassador; are users willing to have the 2008 Great Place award given to Spencer diminished (Dewey was a factor in that award and was referred to); domestic animals contribute to lowering blood pressure, providing a distraction from problems, consoling those in need; attracting children who need to be excited about visiting a place (in the 50s I loved going to a local book store with a standard poodle named Angelo and am sure he contributed to my re-visiting the shop and my love of reading); etc. This issue should not be over, and decisions can be reversed. A precedent was set which worked and should be considered. Quickly rejecting the second homeless cat that came to the library was improper. What is needed are compassion, empathy, decency, and doing the right thing if the board truly wants to have consideration for all. Elected board members who made the decision to ban the cat can be replaced even based on one issue.

    -- Posted by communicate on Sun, Jan 18, 2009, at 8:04 PM
  • I have read and reread the comments here over and over again and I am shocked by what people will say about each other.

    My sister has severe allergies. I have witnessed severe attacks with her windpipe closing up and sat by helplessly while she struggled to breathe. Does that make her a cat hater?? Because that seems to be the consensus here. People with cat allergies must certainly be selfish cat haters who demand they be banned as they "rule" the town with their snobbish noses high in the air...

    Cat people had their 19 years with Dewey. He was good for the library, but he is gone. There will never be another Dewey. It's time to let the allergic back into the library.

    MCP-also allergic to cats

    -- Posted by doggymom on Tue, Jan 20, 2009, at 5:40 PM
  • Doggymom~ Yes of course there are people that have severe allergies to cats, where their windpipe will close, I believe we all understand that and get that. But what people are irritated about is that these people "claim" to have allergies but yet they went into the library just after ordinary cleaning, that is what is insane about the whole thing. And some of us know these people personally and we know what kind of things they come up with. And they sat in that library for how long and had no symptoms at all....that is not a deathly, severe allergy.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Tue, Jan 20, 2009, at 6:33 PM
  • UMMM...2 years worth of regular cleaning. with no cat present. Given that amount of time, even I could get my house pretty darn dog-hair free.

    -- Posted by doggymom on Tue, Jan 20, 2009, at 9:08 PM
  • Doggymom~ I myself have allergies and visit and allergist, and.....they will tell you that if you have had a pet, dog or cat or any animal that spends time on the floor and if you have carpet...the carpet needs to come out! No matter how many times you vacuum it or shampoo it, that is not good enough for someone who has allergies! And I believe that the library has carpet in! So that is my point, even with regular cleaning you can not get the stuff out of the needs to be replaced or people with allergies will continue to suffer. So that is my point also if these people had such severe allergies like they say the do and the same carpet is still in the library, they should have had some symptoms but they themselves said they experience no symptoms at all! My allergies are bad but not to the point of a closed off windpipe, but if I go into a house or a place that has had animals in there I will have symptoms. In fact I was in a house that had not had pets in the house for over 5 years and I was miserable, the carpet had to be removed throughout the house before I was symptom free, and it was replaced with hardwood floors. Anyone with allergies should know from what the doctors have told me that the worst thing for allergies is carpet, and especially if there have been pets on it. So again regular, NORMAL cleaning is not enough

    -- Posted by allaboard on Tue, Jan 20, 2009, at 10:01 PM
  • One question I have though: If these people are THAT allergic to animals, WHY would you EVER check out or use public items such as books that are abviously entering into MANY households with MANY pets? Does the library perform regular fumigating of every item returned to it?

    I guess this is one case where the needs of the few far outweigh the needs of the many.

    -- Posted by wellhowdydew on Wed, Jan 21, 2009, at 7:38 PM
  • I agree with "wellhowdydew! Yes how many times do people check out books and bring them into their homes where there are probably pets, smoke, and whatever else.

    But like I have said before the complaints of the three people are just that "complaints" nothing to back up their complaints!

    -- Posted by allaboard on Wed, Jan 21, 2009, at 10:19 PM
  • This story is just sad. I was in Elementary School when Dewey came to live in the library and cannot tell you how many times my siblings and I would visit the library. There was always that bit of excitement that Dewey was waiting there to see you. When I got to middle school and we were required to do papers, whole classes would go over to the library and do research. Where were the Corcoran's then? Why is it that now that Dewey is gone they are bringing up claims that they are "deathly allergic" (which I agree sounds fishy since they have no problems in the library now and only regular cleanings have taken place) and were unable to use the library. If they actually had any intentions of using the library in the first place they would have said something 20 years ago when Dewey first came to be a resident of the library.

    Yes kids will still go to the library in Spencer and hopefully they have parents that had an experience with Dewey that they can pass down but it will not be the same. Kids these days need more to entertain them then just the books. Taking a 5 minute break to visit Dewey on a visit to do a research paper or whatever your purpose there sometimes was just the thing that kept you going and pushed you to complete that paper or read that book.

    Shame on the board for banning all pets in the library. Obviously some of them didn't go to the library to visit Dewey and cannot know the impact that he had on the people there.

    -- Posted by Tiger'98 on Thu, Jan 22, 2009, at 10:13 AM
  • I agree with Tiger 98, yes where were these people when Dewey was around, why didn't they speak up then, but all of a sudden when Paige finds a home she needed in a very bad way, that is when they decide to speak up. That is hog wash!

    -- Posted by allaboard on Thu, Jan 22, 2009, at 9:20 PM
  • OK-

    Vicki Myron no longer works for the library-she RETIRED. She was the first person to be offered the kitten that resembles Dewey. SHE adopted and named the kitten Page. Page has a new and loving home with Vicki--do you mean to tell me she should be FORCED to give up the kitten??

    And where was I when Dewey was around?? I was the one in the Sci-Fi section sneezing and sniffling. Yep! I have allergies, a TAX-PAYING citizen of SPENCER-NOT Germany, Not Canada, Not Albert City or California-and I have just as much right as anyone else to use the library. To be able to spend more than half an hour in the library at a time without misery. or prejudice.

    -- Posted by doggymom on Thu, Jan 22, 2009, at 11:38 PM
  • I am a resident of Spencer, love cats, and I am not allergic to them at all. I expect that all citizens of Spencer should be able to attend concerts, visit the galleries, County Courthouse, what ever public facility with the same convince as anyone else. That is our right!

    I consider myself fairly well up on what may be going on in town, city hall, school board you name it. I visit the library regularly, have read about Vicky's new cat, which she choose as I recall. She didn't get the kitten on the rebound, but cherry-picked the kitten of her own free will. She, herself, insisted that no more cats be allowed in the library after Dewey died, for at least two years.

    I have had many conversations with the staff, Vicky, and the new director at the library. I had no idea that the cat issue was on the agenda or I would have been there. I know many people in town who may have given their opinions as well, if they had known about the topic.

    It is owing to the generous attitudes of Spencer residents that nothing was done all those years the cat resided in a public library facility. The national association of libraries could have removed the accreditation of our library over Dewey, had any one lodged a formal complaint. But the nice people decided to let well enough alone. some complained often, but others tried to mind their own business. If the library director wanted a cat in the library, then they for the most part, would keep quiet. There were battles over the cat in the library, but it didn't make the news. Also know that it takes a lot of nerve to make public gripes in a small town. People will talk and hold grudges. Take for example the thrashing those who stood up and voiced their opinions, have received on this forum. How dare anyone condemn a citizen of this democracy for stating their opinion on a public matter!

    Know this, anyone of you reading this could be the victim of discrimination, develop allergies, require a wheel chair, or other such denials of public access. But how dare anyone who does not reside in Spencer demand that we should discriminate against even one taxpayer, regardless of their degree of affliction. The day may come when you are on the other side of such an issue, and I will defend your rights then too.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 10:46 AM
  • Well said Mr. Toad...

    Some of the comments keep mentioning how the kitty Paige no longer has a home. But she does...with Vicki. Ready the article.

    As for not having a cat in the library. I am NOT allergic to cats and I adore them but a library is not a place for pets. Because of the wide range of people that could come into the library. I am proud of the people who did show up and state their opinion about this matter. It took guts...yet all anyone is focusing on is how it was THEIR fault there won't be a new addition. Please, you don't think that the board has thought about this before the meeting or even since Deweys passing. Stop blaming those that stood up for their beliefs (whether trouble makes or not) they have that right as citizens of Spencer to speak their mind.

    Having owned a few cats in my day I know that you carry pet dander and hair every where you go. So really, no place is ever pet dander free! So when Dewey used to lay on my backpack I would end up taking a little bit of him home with me. My other animals would smell this and get jealous then act out. No it didn't keep me from visiting the library. But what if I lived with someone that was deathly allergic. I would have had to wash my backpack after every visit.

    I do know of a business that had cats. It drove away customers because of the smell from them marking territory and maybe even the dander. All I know is I hated going there! That smell doesn't clean up easily! Yet another business has not been affected at all.

    The library was very lucky to get a cat that was as sweet, affectionate and well behaved as Dewey. If it were my cat in the library he would have marked every book in the place. He also would have chewed up the books as he loves paper and cardboard products!

    Let the library be a public place again for ALL to be able to use!!

    -- Posted by puppyluv on Fri, Jan 23, 2009, at 1:05 PM
  • I read a comment by an immunologist that is worth passing along. He said that allergic individuals should visit an allergist and receive treatment for their allergies by taking medication or receiving shots. There are over 160 different things that trigger allergic reactions which need to be treated specifically. Individuals should take responsibility for their illness rather than expect others to accommodate them.

    -- Posted by communicate on Sat, Jan 24, 2009, at 9:38 AM
  • I agree with Communicat! If these people were SOOOOOO allergic to cats that they would die if they were around cats, then perhaps yes they should visit their doctor and be treated instead of complain and expect others to "dance" around them. Like I said this whole thing about going to the library board and saying they are deathly allergic to cats is just a crock!

    -- Posted by allaboard on Sun, Jan 25, 2009, at 8:20 PM
  • You can treat allergies-but not cure them. ANY Allergist would tell you that.

    -- Posted by doggymom on Mon, Jan 26, 2009, at 8:56 AM
  • If everyone tried as hard to agree as they do to disagree maybe we would get somewhere.

    -- Posted by mistert on Tue, Jan 27, 2009, at 8:08 AM
  • Okay, let's see here. Let me get this straight. Eaton lays off 129 of its employees and RR Donnelly announces it's closing in March, adding another 160 to the job loss count in Spencer, and we're still talking about a cat three weeks later, while the articles regarding the job losses only rate a handful of comments?!? Look, I'm just as disappointed as anyone over this. I'm a huge cat lover and would love to see another cat at the library. But let's voice our disapproval in a more constructive, civil manner. Lynching the Corcorans is not going to get the library board's decision overturned. And neither is posting numerous comments on this website. The last time I checked The Daily Reporter didn't have much clout at the library. Instead, why don't those of us that disagree with the decision voice our thoughts to the members of the library board, again in a CIVIL manner? But as disappointed as I am, I find the fact that Spencer is losing at least 300 jobs much more disturbing than the fact that there won't be another cat at the library. Priorities, people!

    -- Posted by PhMcS on Tue, Jan 27, 2009, at 10:43 AM
  • Priorities! I understand what you are talking about when you say Eaton and others just laid off a number of people and perhaps that is more important than a cat, perhaps. But we cannot do anything about those situations or the ecomony, but we can make our voices heard here and to the library board that we do care about Dewey and his replacement and also about being underminded by these three people who claim to have "deathly allergies"

    -- Posted by allaboard on Tue, Jan 27, 2009, at 10:06 PM
  • Allaboard, if you feel so strongly about this issue, maybe a more constructive approach would be to voice your dissatisfaction to the library board or start a petition. Heck, I might even sign it. All I'm saying is that posting 15 comments (so far) attacking the three people that showed up to the meeting through the comments section of this article is not going to change anything. Besides, I get the impression from reading the article that the library board (or at least some of its members) had already done some research on the issue of allergies and had pretty much made its decision before the meeting even took place anyway.

    -- Posted by PhMcS on Wed, Jan 28, 2009, at 2:29 AM
  • I just had a couple come in to chat. They couldn't stick around because I have a cat and she is allergic to them. She lost her job last week, today he was laid off too. Now they are both looking for work, in Spencer, and she needs to use the computers at the library to do a search for work in the area. I think you see where I'm headed.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Thu, Jan 29, 2009, at 5:19 PM
  • I read this lovely book recently and have talked with friends and thought about Dewey since. Even though I am far away in Australia, I could still appreciate how this little animal shared his magic with the library visitors who seemed to come from all around the world. What a lucky cat to find Vicki and how wonderful that she had the honour of being Dewey's friend. While reading all of those hostile comments, it seems that in 2 short years all has reverted back 20 years before Dewey arrived. I would just like to ask - how many people died as a result of Dewey living in the library?

    -- Posted by mumamia008 on Fri, Jan 30, 2009, at 6:49 AM
  • I'm from a small town and I'm so sad that Spencer has to "cow down" to three people who seem to rule the town. I have a question...... Did the library take all of the books off the shelves to get the cat dander? Dust all of the shelves, take all of the chairs and tables out, plus the carpet. If they didn't do this how could one of the "chosen" Corcoran kids go in there and not have a reaction? Something is rotten in Denmark. Sounds like Spencer is still being run by a chosen few. I don't see how they can show their faces and do they realize how much anger is directed towards them now and it will get worse.

    -- Posted by snowboy on Sat, Jan 31, 2009, at 8:50 AM
  • Mr Toad---a person can also use the computers at the schools and the colleges. Also at a friends house!!! so why do you think the only place to go is the library--now you know where I am headed!

    -- Posted by iowagirl on Sat, Jan 31, 2009, at 10:40 AM
  • Actually, snoboy, the public can't come in off the street and go online at our schools, or our local college. Not without being a student there. Just try it sometime.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Sat, Jan 31, 2009, at 12:02 PM
  • PHMcs that is what this page is all about is posting our comments.....right? The reason I may make many comments is that I for one know these people who say they are so deathly allergic to cats and know that some of their claims are probably hogwash. One cannot sit in a place where there has not been anything more done than normal cleaning and not have symptoms (as they claimed) when they say they are SO ALLERGIC! That is my point on this subject, is that the library jumped to a decision based on this. I also believe that some of the workers and board members knew of the history of these people who were complaining, and know that sometimes it just isn't worth all the hassle they would have to put of from these people and just folded their cards and settled for their bluff.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Tue, Feb 3, 2009, at 8:05 PM
  • Do you suppose all this bickering might be the result of those selfish few that might resent a certain cat owner that chances to gain financially from a book or movie? Give me a break, let it go! As said in an earlier post, we have bigger issues to deal with.

    -- Posted by Culture Warrior on Tue, Feb 3, 2009, at 8:48 PM
  • If you have read the "Dewey" book you will note that when Dewey arrived, the library board, city council, and several allergists were consulted in regard to potential visitors who are allergic to cats. They concluded because of the building's design configurations the cat could be allowed. Provisions were made for allergic individuals who requested temporary removal of the cat, such as placing him in a closed room when they arrived. What has changed from those previous rulings that now requires banning a cat?

    -- Posted by communicate on Tue, Feb 3, 2009, at 10:14 PM
  • Really..? It's a freaking cat. Is there need for over a month of constant bickering? How about we use this much energy and discuss it against more important issues like the economy, global warming, racism, ect?

    -- Posted by tiger_fanatic on Tue, Feb 3, 2009, at 10:34 PM
  • It seems to me that the issue here is not "It's a freaking cat" as tiger_fanatic says. It seems as though a thorough debate with community input was ignored in favor of listening to a very, very small segment of the population. It also seems as though the allergy factor was just the excuse that the board hung their decision on. If the library board wants to make a decision to not allow any more pets at the library, let them say that. But what rankles a lot of people is that they not only used three people's "deathly" allergies to decide this issue, but the article made is sound as though there was a certain amount of gloating after the fact. (Immediately after the board voted unanimously to permanently prohibit future "pets in residence" at Spencer Public Library, Korbitz looked at the Corcoran family and said with a big smile, "Welcome to the Spencer Public Library!")

    When you talk about larger issues such as the economy, global warming, or racism, the same principle holds true. When the decisions that are made are based on a VERY small segment of the population, there is going to be resentment.

    So this is not just about a cat - it is about the idea that a decision that affects a whole town (and possibly the whole area) was based on what now seems like the exaggerated claims of three people.

    -- Posted by alclubb on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 7:44 AM
  • Wow, alclubb very nice... I like how you summed it up.

    -- Posted by _Samantha_ on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 3:00 PM
  • Yes they are exaggerated claims by those three people, there is no doubt about that as I also know two of those three people and they like to cause waves, that is all.

    A response to culture warrior, I for one do not have any beef with Vickie making any money off the bood or whatever. I am happy that she was able to put Dewey to a book and she deserves whatever she can get from that. Some of my beef is just this....That they gave Dewey a home and then Paige came to them and they took her in but then sent her away because of three people, that is the real beef here, that they listened to three people (who have probably never been or never will step foot in the library) who just wanted to take an issue with a cat.

    Yes of course I will be the first to admit that there are other issues out there that need attention like the economy, loss of jobs etc. We cannot do anything about that. The economy will change in time. But what the library could have done, then did, then changed their mind was to give back to the community what was taken from them by natural causes. Dewey brought comfort, empathy, eyes of understanding and would give some people attention that they might not have received anywhere else, and now that is gone to at a time when the world and economy is letting us down. We no longer have the unconditional love and understanding that came from Dewey and others could have received from Paige.....that I would say is the real beef here.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 9:09 PM
  • I understand what you are saying, however it's not the Corcoran family you should be mad at. They had the freedom of speech and they used it. It's their right and NO ONE should have the right to say they "shouldn't be able to show their face" or "are a disgrace to the town". If you want to be mad at anyone, be mad at the board. Use YOUR right to petition via letters to the editor, letters to town hall, ect. Some of the things said in the comments were way out of line and makes the citizens of Spencer look selfish and rude. I know as well as anyone that's not how Spencer people are.

    Also, IF you do some research for those saying "THEY DIDN'T GET A REACTION BLAH BLAH BLAH", the room they were staying in had a head to toe cleaning session after the death of Dewey... Not because of dander issues, but because of leaking water issues.

    Now I'm not saying you guys don't have the right to be p'oed. According to the United States Constitution, you can be; that's what makes America so great.. But don't take it out on Kelsey and the fellow Corcoran girls. Take it out on the board. THEY were the ones that made the decision, not the Corcoran family.

    -- Posted by tiger_fanatic on Wed, Feb 4, 2009, at 9:43 PM
  • There was an editorial posted in the paper prior to the board meeting letting everyone know that this isue was on the agenda. Research that. It was written by Dennis Corcoran. He encouraged EVERYONE to come. Notice no one but the CORCORAN'S showed up. I too also know for a fact that the library was cleaned due to water damage. Many things were thrown out and new drapes were purchased. Carpets were cleaned and so on. Extensive cleaning was done. Research that as well. It is not our falt how the paper reported it. There were many things that were said that the paper didn't point out. Unless you were there you shouldn't be judging. It was a meeting open to the public. Never do I think or feel that THREE Of us run the town. I am not that kind of person and the people claiming to know me clearly do not. You may think you know me but I assure you that you do not or you wouldn't have these kinds of things to say about us. Thank you.

    -- Posted by kelsey on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 12:32 PM
  • Like you said, we are exercising our freedom of speech, here and in the paper. Allergist will also tell you that you need to "remove" the carpet, that normal cleaning doesn't get out the dander, etc from having pets. That is the really only way to "get rid of it all". I for one have torn my carpet out from previous owners that have had pets even after a good cleaning professionally. I still had symptoms and my allergist then told me that the only way to get rid of it all is to rip it out and put vinyl or wood flooring in. That is what I did and then was symptom free. So I don't go along with just the cleaning and everything is fine, that doesn't cut it.

    I don't believe that we are all just mad at the Cocorans, they don't have that much "power" to run the whole town, but it is the drama that they brought with them to the library board meeting and then to compare it to handicap issues. That just proved the lengths they went to just to "stir the pot".

    And yes some of us do know them personally, others maybe just by heresay. But I have seen and heard about other times they have tried to create issues.

    Thank you

    -- Posted by allaboard on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 1:08 PM
  • Allaboard.If you know me so personaly then I would like to know what you keep refering to by stiring the pot. You keep being so bold as to make these comments yet have nothing to stand behind it. I for one am tierd of your ranting. You don't know me and until you have the nerve to reveal yourself then you need to step back. Again I challange you. You directly and no one else. Where were you the night of the meeting because we all know where I was!

    You are dead wrong about Paig too. She NEVER lived at the library. NEVER. NEVER was she torn away because she didn't live there. I am tiered of you going off about things you flat out don't know about. You are uneducated on the matter no matter how much you want to play off like you know. Bottom line you weren't there and you have been kicking yourself ever since. Your problem, not mine.

    -- Posted by kelsey on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 2:09 PM
  • I read Dewey, cover-to-cover, in one sitting, this past Sunday, February 1. I cannot remember when a book moved me so. It is no exaggeration for me to say that this book has changed my life.

    I am from Rochester,New York, and regret that I only learned of Dewey after his death, or I would have been among those people who made pilgrimages to Spencer, Iowa, for the privilege of meeting him.

    I think that this ongoing dialogue over the library Board's decision (and the fact that it has prompted input from as far away as Australia!) is just another example of the impact Dewey had on Spencer and the world.

    I offer no opinion as to whether the Spencer Library should have another library cat or not. It's your town, your library, and your decision.

    I do want to say that I am so glad that on that frigid cold January morning back in 1988, little Dewey found Vicki and her staff and they found him and, at that point in time, the library was, in the end, able to give him a home.

    I want to use this forum to thank Vicki for sharing the wonderful story of Dewey with the world and for the extraordinary love she provided this little guy during his exceptionally long life. Dewey needed Vicki and her staff and all of the folks of Spencer who loved him, and they needed him, too, and he gave back to them, in spades, all the love and care given him.

    And, although I never had the privilege of meeting Dewey during his life, I feel that, through Vicki, I have come to know him, and I shall never forget him and the lessons that he has taught me. Thank you, Vicki. I hope that you pass through Upstate New York sometime this year during your book-signing tour, so that I may personally thank you. And, thank you, all of the residents of the remarkable town of Spencer, Iowa, for your part in loving and supporting Dewey during all of his 19 remarkable years.

    I wish you all the best and I know that, in the end, this tempest in a teapot will settle down and perhaps you'll find something in it to chuckle about, and continue to enjoy your memories of Dewey and realize that this one little guy really did put a little town in Iowa on the proverbial global map!

    -- Posted by Pinky on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 3:26 PM
  • This will be the end because I choose not to take part in this discussion any longer, because there are those who will never get it and those will remain "nameless".

    I beg to differ, you say that I am uneducated in this matter, well you are dead wrong. I am a member of the medical community and have been for nearly 25 years, so therefore I am educated, sorry to disappoint you. I am also educated on allergies from the medical aspect and also personally. So wrong again.

    No I do not accept "your challenge" because I am going to be the one to take the higher road here. And because I do not act on " DARES". I for one am going to let Dewey rest in peace and put the spotlight again back on him where it belongs. Dewey gave many memories to people and they are fond and great memories. Perhaps some people can learn great things from him. And maybe if you go to the library once now that it is suppose to be "cat free" you could also bring home a dictionary and learn how to spell.

    Dewey's memory will live on longer than this discussion. I totally agree with PINKY That's all and thank you.

    -- Posted by allaboard on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 6:22 PM
  • The core issue is not about Dewey. The accompanying article is about banning any future cats at the library. Clarification is needed as to how the decision to ban cats was arrived at. Did those in the audience provide medical proof of having cat allergies (i.e. test results, hospital receipts. etc.) to validate their claim; did the library board document the calls opposing cats and share them; did the board display letters it received; why was Dewey allowed after allergists, the library board, and city council approved him; why did a Dec. 20 Spencer Daily Reporter article quote a board member as liking the new kitten and keeping it at the library while further stating there were other board members who like cats? If the board did not carefully examine and weigh information presented by citizens at the board meeting and have the right allergy information (statistics can be misleading) to make an egalitarian decision, the board is ultimately responsible for allowing library patrons and visitors to be deprived of a library cat.

    -- Posted by communicate on Thu, Feb 5, 2009, at 9:06 PM
  • I am one of those people who never got to meet Dewey, but was deeply touched by the book. And, I have to admit, I do like cats. I think it was a grave mistake for the library board to vote to make a "permanent prohibition against having pets in residence at the library." Which is not to say that the library should have a cat. I too am concerned that some potential library patrons might not go to a library that has a cat in residence, and agree that an allowance should be made for people with allergies; not just cat allergies, but dogs, peanuts, cleaning agents, dust mites, perfume, and every other thing to which someone, somewhere, is allergic. The issue, here, is having a specific vote which gives the appearance of being anti-Dewey. After all how could you ever replace Dewey, and indeed it would be almost impossible to get a new cat with the great personality that Dewey had, ample reason not to have a new cat.

    Dewey apparently did many good things for the library, the town and indeed the patrons who enjoyed him. Rejecting this legacy with a vote is just plain wrong. Not having a permanent animal in the library is probably a good idea, but, so too might the idea of holding special Meet-a-Cat (-Dog, -Bird, -Hamster, etc) days at the library, in honor of Dewey. This could have been a positive vote, not a negative one. Those with allergies could stay away for the hour or two of the event, those who would benefit from such a meeting would not be denied the ability to commune with an animal they might not otherwise be able to enjoy. There is a reason that hospitals and nursing homes have animal visiting times, petting an animal can do a lot to improve the disposition of those in need... maybe the Library Board too.

    The Library Board made a mistake with this vote.

    -- Posted by McCoin on Sat, Feb 7, 2009, at 7:04 PM
  • When commenting further, people need to understand something very critical:

    Page Turner was NOT going to be the new library cat. At no point was that going to happen. Page is now Vicki Myron's personal cat. The library board did not vote to disallow Page from living at the library because that wasn't the issue.

    The library board voted not to allow ANY pets to live in the library at this time. It's not just cats, it's not just Page, it's pets, which includes all animals.

    Also, maybe a select few do "run" the town, but it's not a girl named Kelsey Corcoran. Are you people kidding? This is a person who simply showed up to state her opinion and her reasons for not wanting pets, cats in her case specifically because she's allergic. Fact is, there are a lot of people allergic to cats and other animals. Deathly or not, it isn't fair to, for all intents and purposes, ban them from a public facility because an animal they're allergic to resides there. That's simply not fair. People with allergies pay taxes for the library just like everyone else, and they should be disallowed to use that PUBLIC facility.

    I saw somebody mention that a person can go to a friend's house to use a computer if they can't go to the library. Is that all the library is good for? Unless that friend has an extensive collective of literature, including encyclopedias, novels, magazines, periodicals, etc, and unless that friend has the ability to bring up any newspaper The Daily Reporter has ever put out, like the library does, then it's not the same. Cat lover or not, you can't keep someone out of a public facility like the library because of a pet. That's simply not fair.

    And, by the way, the library board was voting the way it did whether anybody showed up to that meeting or not. Period. End of story.

    -- Posted by El Tigre on Sun, Feb 8, 2009, at 4:06 AM
  • I am one of those people who never got to meet Dewey, but was deeply touched by the book. And, I have to admit, I do like cats. I think it was a grave mistake for the library board to vote to make a "permanent prohibition against having pets in residence at the library." Which is not to say that the library should have a cat. I too am concerned that some potential library patrons might not go to a library that has a cat in residence, and agree that an allowance should be made for people with allergies; not just cat allergies, but dogs, peanuts, cleaning agents, dust mites, perfume, and every other thing to which someone, somewhere, is allergic. The issue, here, is having a specific vote which gives the appearance of being anti-Dewey. After all how could you ever replace Dewey, and indeed it would be almost impossible to get a new cat with the great personality that Dewey had, ample reason not to have a new cat.

    Dewey apparently did many good things for the library, the town and indeed the patrons who enjoyed him. Rejecting this legacy with this vote is just plain wrong. Not having a permanent animal in the library is probably a good idea, but, so too might the idea of holding special Meet-a-Cat (-Dog, -Bird, -Hamster, etc) days at the library, in honor of Dewey. This could have been a positive vote, not a negative one. Those with allergies could stay away for the hour or two of the event, those who would benefit from such a meeting would not be denied the ability to commune with an animal they might not otherwise be able to enjoy. There is a reason that hospitals and nursing homes have animal visiting times, petting an animal can do a lot to improve the disposition of those in need... maybe the Library Board too.

    The Library Board made a mistake with this vote.

    -- Posted by McCoin on Sun, Feb 8, 2009, at 9:35 AM
  • When Dewey arrived he was fortunate not to have the same individuals on the library board and elsewhere who would have removed him. There are over 600 library cats in the world most of which had been homeless.

    -- Posted by communicate on Wed, Feb 11, 2009, at 8:39 AM
  • Tiger fanatic - You crack me up. You defend one person's "freedom of speech" and in your next sentence "NO ONE" should be allowed to use it. That's rich...which is it? Bottom line, the board shot themselves in the foot. There was no need for this vote. If an animal's circumstance bring it to the library (for whatever reason) it should be voted on case by case. This appears to be nothing but a vendeta. You look ridiculous to the world...

    -- Posted by read me on Thu, Feb 12, 2009, at 6:55 AM
  • 'read me' should really read and understand. Your quote is entirely wrong, as to what 'tiger_fanatic' was trying to say. To quote, "It's their right and NO ONE should have the right to say they "shouldn't be able to show their face" or "are a disgrace to the town". If you want to be mad at anyone, be mad at the board. Use YOUR right to petition via letters to the editor, letters to town hall, ect." What do you think this means?

    I am not sure why so many people, here, think that the rights of a few opinionated cat lovers should top the rights of several hundred allergic tax paying citizens of Spencer Iowa.

    Why don't you come to the next city council meeting and demand a change. Why don't you offer a financial alternative for those who are inconvenienced by the presence of a cat in the City Library? Just last week it was reported to the city Council that ten percent of property taxes will go to the operation of our library here in Spencer. Do you not think that the city could not be sued for denying that use to a tax payer? Such suits were raised, and won, by minorities and the disabled, when they had complaints over public school inequalities.

    If you believe in libraries so much why are you so concerned for an animal that would be just as happy in a nice home with no books at all? CATS CAN'T READ!

    Please stop crucifying the Spencer taxpayers for wanting to be fair to all the citizens of a town with a nice library, the board was just trying to be fair to all readers first, pets aren't necessary to the piratical operation of such a facility.

    P.S. Please share with us the source of the "over 600 library cats around the world" Vicky seem to think there are only a couple dozen, and I think we deserve to know where they are, so we can send cat/book lovers to these wonderful locations.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Thu, Feb 12, 2009, at 10:39 AM
  • Here is a link to the map of library cats. You can click on a state and it will tell you about the different cats:

    -- Posted by alclubb on Fri, Feb 13, 2009, at 1:42 PM
  • Hey that was cool alclubb thanks for putting that on there...

    -- Posted by _Samantha_ on Fri, Feb 13, 2009, at 4:57 PM
  • Yes, Samantha, thanks for the directions. However that only accounts for a few over 200 living library cats. A minor point, but since libraries are primarily an American invention, I wonder about the "600" sited earlier.

    Still I am amazed at how many cats lasted briefly in many locations. It asks the question, what became of so many short lived library stays for these pets?

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Fri, Feb 13, 2009, at 6:09 PM
  • Mr. Toad - First, Samantha did not post the link. I did. I didn't post the original comment, but it is easy enough to find if you Google "library cats".

    You asked for the source of the 600 cats, and this is the web site that it came from. Many of the cats that I looked at had been at their library homes for almost as long as Dewey was at the Spencer Library. I understand that you think the board made a correct decision so as to allow all residents equal access to the library, but I am perplexed at your tone in trying to downplay the fact that other libraries in the world have resident cats. (I especially enjoyed looking at the cats in Italy.) In fact, if you click on the state of Iowa on the map, there are other libraries in your own state that have resident cats.

    Following is the text of the article from which the original quote regarding 600 cats is taken:

    What is a library cat?

    It is a cat that calls a library its home. Most were homeless before being adopted by a library. Now Web-surfing cat lovers can find these felines that live in libraries by consulting the map. Visitors can click on any region of the world to view a list of the cats known to reside (or to have formerly resided) in libraries there. People can view photos of the cats, visit the cats' home pages on the Web, and even send them e-mail!

    The map contains information on nearly 600 library cats around the world. There are certainly more cats in the stacks. Iron Frog Productions would like your assistance in compiling the definitive list of library cats in the world. Visit the site and check out the ones from your area. If, 'purr' chance, you know of one that was missed, you can help update the list. In this way, you will play a part in creating a resource for people who would like to stop by on their travels to visit a library cat (as well as creating a memorial to past library cats).

    The Library Cats Map's data derives from Iron Frog Productions' research for the award-winning documentary film, Puss in Books: Adventures of the Library Cat. Those wishing more information about the Web site or the film can contact Iron Frog Productions at the contact deatils below.

    Gary Roma

    Iron Frog Productions

    31 Worcester Street


    MA 02118


    -- Posted by alclubb on Fri, Feb 13, 2009, at 7:42 PM
  • I can not believe a cat would cause such a stir in light of the economic crisis we find ourselves in currently. Oh, if we only had to worry about whether or not to adopt a cat! You all are so petty.

    First, Dewey was a wonderful cat. He was an excellent judge of character, and he never bothered anyone. As an cat allergy sufferer myself, I was never bothered by a cat in the library. After all, that is what antihistimines are, people. Unless you specifically got up close to Dewey or sought him out, you wouldn't have known he was in the building.

    It is an unfortunate choice that the library board decided not to have another cat. Considering the PR Dewey brought to Spencer both before and after his death, both sides of this debate should rethink their arguments, and move on.

    Odd that there are prestigous university libraries and large city libraries around the country that have library cats. Maybe we are missing something important.

    -- Posted by bright light on Sat, Feb 14, 2009, at 3:19 PM
  • alclubb, I'm glad to see that there are so many libraries that have made homes for cats. GREAT FOR THEM! I made no reference in my reply to your adding the http, just, thanks. BTW,it's hard to judge a persons tone from an email. You may concede that the number (600) does include cats that didn't seem to last over 12 months, and that would concur with my point. That some cats can be a poor fit for all that may visit a public location, or would not behave as did Dewey. Also there are so many Deweys out there, I hope folks can find one close to their home.

    I have only one purpose in my replies to the comments on this topic, that of defending the residents to choose for them selves, weather or not to have a cat without being vilified for being fair to all library users.

    I have had cats around all my lofe and enjoy them for the same reasons as others here.

    I would also mention that since so many cats have library homes around the world, one more or less, in Spencer, is no crime. If people are enamored of the idea at all it is alive and well all over the planet. GREAT! We had a director who put her foot down and kept our 'Dewey' in spite of the objections of the city manager and the city council. Now we have a director with an other agenda. The library usage has gone up 2% in the last year. I guess the lack of a cat isn't hurting the success of that organization.

    Any one in favor of a cat in the Spencer Library should write the board there and avoid demeaning the residents of Spencer over the boards considered decision.

    -- Posted by Mr. Toad on Sat, Feb 14, 2009, at 5:13 PM
  • Please see the following: and also Criticizing the Spencer library board's decision prohibiting library animals is allowable and as such does not necessarily demean the city's residents. It all depends upon how the board arrived at its decision.

    Individuals supporting a library cat are possibly aware that scientists discovered about 15 years ago that a hormone, released when stroking a cat, makes a cat and a human feel good. Libraries generally have a pleasant environment which cats enhance.

    I do think there is room for accommodation on both sides of the library ban issue.

    -- Posted by communicate on Sat, Feb 14, 2009, at 10:25 PM
  • Just to let all of you over "The Pond" that Dewey is breaking news today in England. His story is very moving, and one can't help but wonder just WHY the library will now be 'catless'. I would have thought that the overriding question here is, did a lot of people benefit from having Dewey in the library, and whether his living there actually brought people into the library who would not have usually come in? To me, the answer is a simple one - YES!

    Can I also tell you about Puss, who lived for 15 years in the Ladies loo (you call it rest room) in Paddington Station, London. Regular visitors brought her presents & favourite foods, and there was a 'Puss jar' on the way out, which ladies & children would drop in their loose change!

    So, Dewey is not alone! Maybe they are both chomping from the good old mog bowl in the sky!

    My advice to the people of Spencer,vote out the killjoys, and get another cat!

    -- Posted by Tiwele on Sun, Feb 15, 2009, at 11:40 AM
  • ok if we got a cat talking from the grave i think we should listen to what he has to say. If we don't want to live in a proverbial litter box then I strongly suggest we don't unleash the demon powers of the almighty dewey readmore books. He may have touched the world, but i have no doubt that he isn't going to merely touch us. More likely he will pull some pet semetary stuff and eat our faces or worse, he could expose us all to cat dander and we all know how people feel about that. Apparantally cat dander is the next anthrax. Maybe we should get a new cat and just have gas masks made available to the public. You have nine secondsto dawn and clear before the chemicals infiltrate your body so that should be sufficient time.

    -- Posted by tbates94 on Mon, Feb 16, 2009, at 11:08 PM
  • -- Posted by Roux on Sun, Aug 24, 2014, at 9:31 PM
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