Royal Reggie and the Library Cat Society

Jerry WalchStarred Page By Jerry Walch, 21st Dec 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed
Posted in Wikinut>Guides>Pets>Cats

Like Dewey Readmore Books saga, the saga of Royal Reggie, the cat that inspired the founding of the Library Cat Society begins in the midst of a blustery, cold Midwestern night.

The night that Royal Reggie came in out of the cold.

It was the winter of 1987. A blizzard raged outside when Phyliss Lahti heard the weak, desperate meows of a cat over the howling winds. Phyliss opened her door to see the bedraggled, half-frozen tabby lying on her doorstep. Recognizing the pitiful creature as one of the strays that she fed, she gently picked him up and brought him in out of the cold. Phyliss would soon name him Royal Reggie because of his royal bearing.

Royal Reggie was not welcome

Phyliss' two companion cats soon made it known that Royal Reggie would not be a welcome addition to their home, so Phyliss took him to the Bryant Public Library in Sauk, Minnesota. Reggie established himself as the Library Cat-in-residence with the reference room as being his preferred place to hang out. Not just any cat can become a library cat. Just like librarians, a library cat has to be a people cat. A library cat to become the library cat-in-residence, must love to interact with the patrons, and Royal Reggie had that personality. Royal Reggie had a positive impact on the direction that the future of library cats in America was going to take.

Royal Reggie and the Library Cat Society

Inspired by Royal Reggie, Phyliss organized the Library Cat Society with the Bryant Public Library as its headquarters. The Society is now defunct, but at its peak, it had dozens of member libraries that offered safe havens to cats dumped in their parking lots or stuffed in book-return chutes. In a Society newsletter, Phyliss described the Society's objectives this way, “to advocate the establishment of cats in libraries and recognize the need to respect and to care for library cats.”

The Spencer, Iowa, Public Library

The Spencer Public Library became one of the Library Cat Society's member libraries the following year when someone stuffed Dewey Readmore Books in the book-return chute, and he established himself as the Library cat-in-residence.

How many library cat-in-residence are there today in the United States?

According to a fact sheet published by the American Library Association (ALA), there are 16,671 public library buildings in the United States today. Today there are 200 library cats in the United States but only 35 are the permanent residents of a library. Is your public library one of those blessed 35? If your public library does not have a Library cat-in-residence, petition your library board of directors to adopt a homeless kitten from a shelter. Dewey Readmore Books and Royal Reggie will be at your side all the way. Make them understand that having a library cat will not cost them a single penny of their budget because you and the other patrons will provide money for his care just as the patrons of the Spenser Public Library provided for Dewey Readmore Books care. Give them copies of Vicki Bytons book, Dewey, the Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, for Christmas.

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Tags

Cats, Dew, Dewey, Dewey Readmore Books, Librarian, Libraries, Library, Library Cat, Library Cat Society, Library Cats, Pets, Pets Animals, Phyliss Lahti, Royal Reggie, Vicki Byron

Meet the author

author avatar Jerry Walch
Jerry Walch is a 71 year old freelance writer for hire living in Colorado Springs, Colorado. He has been writing since the late 1970s, and writes for both the print and online media. He specializes in

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Comments

author avatar Denise O
21st Dec 2010 (#)

Jerry, I never knew this about library cats, I just love the idea.
I will have to check with our local library and if they don't have one, get on it.
I just love your two gorgeous cats, Precious & Sugar.
Good job my friend.
Thank you for sharing.:)

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author avatar Denise O
21st Dec 2010 (#)

oops, see if they have one and if they don't*
Sorry very late night last night.:)

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author avatar Mark Gordon Brown
21st Dec 2010 (#)

I love the idea of petitioning them to adopt a shelter cat! Save a life. Thanks for this Jerry.

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author avatar Jerry Walch
21st Dec 2010 (#)

Precious and Sugar are mother and daughter, Denise.

You're most welcome Mark.

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author avatar James R. Coffey
21st Dec 2010 (#)

Very cool and entertaining, Jerry. We have the two biggest used book stores in the US in Florida. Both have very cool cats with very cool stories!

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author avatar Jerry Walch
22nd Dec 2010 (#)

Why don't you tell their stories, James?

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author avatar Greenfaol
22nd Dec 2010 (#)

I'd never heard of library cats until this article. Professional as always. Your cats are stunning, healthy specimens. I hope they and your other darlings bring you great joy :D

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author avatar Jerry Walch
22nd Dec 2010 (#)

They do, Norma, they do. I can't even imagine what my life would be like without my seven cats and three dogs.

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author avatar Angelique Newman
23rd Dec 2010 (#)

Oh what a wonderful article; I had no idea about such a thing. Great job Jerry! Thanks for bringing this to light:)

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author avatar Jerry Walch
23rd Dec 2010 (#)

They don't call me the cat man and my mountain home Jerry's Cat house without good reason, Angelique.

Happy holidays.

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author avatar Retired
5th Jan 2011 (#)

Excellent

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