What is the story of Dewey the library cat?

His proper name was Dewey Readmore Books and he lived in the Spencer Public Library in Spencer, Iowa after being dumped in the book return on a January night in 1988. With the approval of the city council and library board of trustees, Dewey was declawed, neutered, vaccinated, and given a literary home.

A contest was held to pick his name and staff contributions for Dewey’s food were augmented with money donated from as far away as New York. Dewey became quite the spokescat for the library, earning feature stories in both Cat Fancy Magazine and Country Magazine. He also had a starring role in a documentary about cats living in libraries called, “Puss in Books.”

Dewey passed away in 2006 after developing hyperthyroid disease and ultimately a stomach tumor. He died in the arms of the library director, Vicki Myron, just 11 days before his 19th birthday. He was a cheerful and loving presence in the library and was celebrated and mourned by thousands of people.

Myron wrote several books about Dewey, including, “Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World.” A handsome ginger tabby with lovely gold eyes, Dewey’s bio and photo are still proudly displayed on the library’s home page at spencerlibrary.com.

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