The Great Library Cat Debate
posted April 10, 2013 3:23 PM by Julie Steenson
Nothing gets people more worked up than their pets. I belong to many forums on library issues, and recently, the issue of a library cat was the hot topic on an ALA LinkedIn Forum. The title of the discussion was: "A Grinch in Swansea, MA wants the library's feline resident, Penny, to find a new home. Does your library have a pet?"
The "Grinch" in this case, is making the claim that the cat's "presence violates the Americans with Disabilities Act because people with allergies to animals are being discriminated against if the cat is there when they want to use the library." Full article: http://www.turnto10.com/story/21809894/swansea-man-says-librarys-cat-violates-ada The cat has been a resident there for 14 years, and according to townspeople, the man doesn't frequent the library, but that is beside the issue. The reactions on the LinkedIn forum were enthusiastic to say the least, with librarians on both sides of the debate.
I quickly got into the fray by asking everyone: What about Dewey?! How did the famed Iowa library of the most famous library cat, Dewey Readmore Books handle the allergy issue?
I think everyone in the library world and beyond has heard Dewey's story but if not, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G8nSg8oxrfA
So, library cat or no? Library gerbil? Hermit crab? And does an animal's presence help or hinder library patrons? What do you think?