Monday , 18 January 2021

Interview with Vicki Myron, author of Dewey The Small Town Library Cat Who Touched the World


We have a real treat today for cat lovers at the PurrfectCatName site – an interview with author and former library director Vicki Myron. Myron was the Director of the Spencer Public Library when she found a tiny orange cat dropped through the book slot. She decided to keep the kitty and he soon became one of the most popular staff members at the library, greeting and befriending everyone who came into the library. The cat’s name was Dewey – full name Dewey Readmore Books. Myron wrote Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, to share this wonderful cat with all of us.

Myron has written several books about Dewey. There is a children’s book about Dewey, called Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library! There is also a book filled with inspiring cat stories called Dewey’s Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions.

PurrfectCatNames: Dewey Readmore Books is a great name for a cat! How was Dewey’s name selected?

Myron: I started calling him Dewey the 1st day I found him (after Melvil Dewey) We decided early on that we would hold a public contest to officially name him. We wanted the community to feel ownership with his name. We got 390 entries but most folks asked us to keep the Dewey name. I decided it was good but not enough for such a regal-looking kitten so I named him Dewey Readmore Books. It was also a wonderful play on words we could use for marketing literacy.

PurrfectCatNames: Dewey was a special cat in so many ways. When did you first realize he was very good at connecting with people, meant to be this special cat for the library and the town?

Myron: In the 1st couple of days after we found him, I realized that he was not only comfy in anyone’s arms, he also purred for all & looked everyone in the eye with such a gentle gaze. I knew he was a perfect fit for us right then.

PurrfectCatNames: Not many libraries adopt cats. Why did the library decide to adopt Dewey?

Myron: I had heard of a few library cats but the main 2 reasons for choosing Dewey was 1. My desire to make the library more homey & comfortable for the public and 2. Dewey’s amazing personality–it was like he was born for this job.

PurrfectCatNames: What was one of Dewey’s favorite things to do?

Myron: Dewey’s most favorite activity was PEOPLE. He loved laps, petting, and sleeping
around his public. Meetings, story hour, celebrations, open houses–those were the best times for Dewey. He truly hated being alone. His absolute greatest joy was a crowd of visitors at Christmas time around his Christmas tree.

PurrfectCatNames: We’ve heard that Dewey was a finicky eater. Did he have a favorite food or treat that he would often eat? Did library patrons bring him treats?

Myron: Dewey ate about 3-4 flavors of Fancy Feast. Each flavor could be his favorite of the week or the worst food in the world depending on his mood that day. Many visitors brought him food at first but since he wouldn’t eat the gifts, we had to make sure our patrons knew the finicky boy just wasted their purchase. We donated a lot of food presents to the cat shelter. He would eat treats occasionally but we tried to keep treats to a minimum so that he would eat more of the real food & not turn into a snack fiend. It was always a challenge to keep his weight up.

PurrfectCatNames: Dewey passed away before the first book was published. Library staff surprised you with a new kitten one day. Can you tell us about your new cat?

Myron: On Dec. 27th 2009, a friend found a frozen kitten on the road. She decided the kitten would make a great replacement for Dewey & took the cat to the library. The library board didn’t want another cat so the staff surprised me with the kitten. I wasn’t ready for a new kitten but it was love at first sight between me, my husband Glenn, and our new kitty baby “Page Turner”. Page looks almost identical to Dewey but has an opposite personality. He is afraid of strangers, noises, doorbells& many other strange items but he is funny & sweet & goofy. He makes us laugh every day. He is not a lap cat but does cuddle in bed at night.

PurrfectCatNames: It has been said that Dewey’s story will be made into a movie. Can you share anything about this with us?

Myron: The movie is on hold for now. New Line Cinema bought the rights but their contract is up June 1st. They did show me a couple of scripts but they completely destroyed the story of the book. We are hoping to sell the rights to another movie company but do not know what will happen. As for me, I would rather have no movie than a bad movie but we shall see.

PurrfectCatNames: Are you writing more stories about Dewey, or other stories? What is your next project?

Myron: We do hope to write another 2-3 Dewey children’s books starting this summer but must find a publisher and see how the market is doing before a final decision is made.

Thank you Vicki Myron for joining us today for a chat about Dewey. Get to know this wonderful cat – we know you’ll love Dewey as much as we do!

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