Spencer: The 'one place to get all things Dewey'

Friday, January 22, 2010

Myron offers store, movie, book updates

The popularity of Dewey Readmore Books, Spencer Public Library's late resident feline, spans the world today. In addition to the countless tours of his former home and town occurring locally, plans are currently in the works to boost his appeal to even more visitors to northwest Iowa's newest destination city.

Vicki Myron, the library's former director who co-wrote "Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World," the book that spurred the cat's worldwide fame, is among those who want to make certain that Dewey's popularity is prolonged. Tuesday afternoon, Myron told Spencer Chamber Tourism Committee members that she's receiving letters and e-mails from people all over the world who say they're planning to visit "Spencer, the home of Dewey Readmore Books."

Writing and releasing additional books about the cat are a mere piece of her promotional plans. The children's picture book "Dewey: There's a Cat in the Library," released in September, was only the first of several follow ups to her best-selling memoir. Myron is currently collaborating with co-author Bret Witter on three other books.

The first, which will target third through sixth grade readers, is scheduled to be published in March. Tentative plans are to release the second, a children's book titled "Dewey's First Christmas," in September, possibly during the 2010 Clay County Fair. The third story Myron is currently working on is the second aimed toward adults. The first draft of "Dewey's Nine Lives," its working title, is due March 15.

Plans are to eventually write a series of seven children's books, she added.

While Myron had said last spring that a Dewey movie was on New Line Cinema's fast track and tentatively slated to be released this Christmas, she reported this week that the movie based on her first book is currently "hanging in the air." While she suggested studio executives are excited about the script and want to make it, the movie is "in a holding period now," Myron said.

Screenwriter Pamela Gray, who toured Spencer in May, submitted a second script to five producers recently. Once studio executives accept it, Myron said they'll return to actress Meryl Streep, who had already signed on to star in the adaptation of her book, to see if she's still interested in portraying her. If Streep decides to not pursue the role, the movie's current director and budget will also go with her, Myron said.

"(The studio) is not planning anything until they have her signed and have a director," she added.

While Myron told Spencer Chamber Tourism Committee members that she does not yet know if the movie would be filmed in Iowa, she noted she has requested the movie's premiere be held in Spencer. Questioning whether there will still be an audience wanting to view a Dewey movie in 2011 "if the movie is done then," Myron also said studio executives expect to hear more during this week's Sundance Film Festival.

Spencer: The "one place to get all things Dewey"

Myron also told members of the Spencer Chamber Tourism Committee that she intends to rent the main floor of a commercial building at Fourth and Grand in Spencer. The home to the former Farmers Trust & Savings Bank and Books 'n Things is currently owned by e-Building, LLC.

According to Myron, the building's main floor, which is currently being remodeled, will feature original moldings, wooden floors and green and white marble flooring. The building will also have the former bank's original wooden doors installed on its exterior. While remodeling work is anticipated to continue through early spring, Myron reported she will be given possession once it is completed.

The building's main floor will then host the Dewey Readmore Books bookstore, a coffee bar and an office, she said. Besides being a full-fledged bookstore, which Jill Krebs, the owner of Hill Avenue Book Company in Spirit Lake has agreed to manage, the space will serve as the local outlet for Dewey memorabilia.

"This will be the one place where you can get all things Dewey," Myron said.

Long fight over use of Dewey's name ends

Three years, six lawyers and approximately $100,000 later, her "fighting down and dirty" with the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC) is over, Vicki Myron reported. Spencer's former library director has been battling the nonprofit computer library service and research organization over use of the late library cat's name.

The Dewey Decimal Classification system is the world's most widely used library classification system. It has been a registered trademark of the OCLC since 1988. The OCLC, which acquired the trademark and any copyrights associated with the Dewey Decimal system when it bought Forest Press, its former owner, alleged trademark infringement.

According to Myron, the OCLC withdrew all of its objections with prejudice last Thursday, allowing her to now use Dewey's name however she wants to.

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  • Rock on Dewey - you'll never be forgotten.

    -- Posted by John Arnold on Fri, Jan 22, 2010, at 7:15 AM
  • How neat re-using an old commercial downtown building as Dewey Central. Perhaps there will be a bookstore cat on the premises. Dewey -- you are missed but have an established place in history thanks to an author and books.

    -- Posted by communicate on Fri, Jan 22, 2010, at 9:42 AM
  • Whoa! A book store in Spencer? And, in the old Books N Things? Now THAT is truly exciting!

    -- Posted by stafinois on Fri, Jan 22, 2010, at 10:11 AM
  • We visited Spencer in late July last year (from Minneapolis, MN) to see "all things Dewey". In addition to the Library, Leech Park, "the mansion" and other spots, we truly enjoyed everything we saw. We now have another reason to return to see more of "all things Dewey" and your wonderful community.

    You have a really great town, Spencer, Iowa. Thanks to Dewey and Vicki, you're on the map!

    -- Posted by pieri on Fri, Jan 22, 2010, at 11:25 AM
  • KittyKindness -- You have said a mouse-ful. The library board should re-consider the current policy. There are world-wide library cats that are even replaced when they die. Cats and books are a natural combination.

    -- Posted by communicate on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 7:28 PM
  • We need a book store. I cant wait.

    -- Posted by brian48 on Mon, Jan 25, 2010, at 11:15 PM
  • Thanks for the book!

    Greetings from Poland!

    Is there a new cat in your library?

    -- Posted by ana on Fri, Jan 29, 2010, at 5:46 PM
  • Seems to me that the library board is just plain ****** off that a famous cat is more famous than they are! They seem to think that V Myron should jump through their hoops! Sad-- as spencer is a wonderful town-I lived there for several years and you people need to really appreciate what you have!

    -- Posted by iowagirl on Sat, Mar 27, 2010, at 6:51 PM
  • Woo Hoo - Maybe there will be a cat that lives in the book store :)

    -- Posted by read me on Tue, Mar 30, 2010, at 7:43 AM
  • iowagirl, I'm sure the library board is jealous of a cat... and I find it interesting that this comment appeared two months after the original story, which had nothing to do with the library at all, but did mention that Vicki had an enormous amount of trouble with copyrighting the Dewey name. Hmmm, I wonder why the library board didn't want to go there...

    read me- EXCELLENT idea, and I hope it will be a serious consideration when opening the store. That store, after all, will be Dewey's namesake and nobody can complain about a cat being in residence at a private business.

    -- Posted by notinia on Thu, Apr 1, 2010, at 9:33 AM
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