Two cats named Paige and Turner have joined the growing ranks of cats given homes in public libraries, where they are getting rave reviews for their ability to keep rodents off the premises.Damage to library materials from rodents is a real problem.
...Since they were introduced to their new home in August, the cats have the run of the staff offices and some of the stacks, barred only from the library's public sections.
Mice love to gnaw on paper and the glue used to bind books. And although new to the Round Lake library, the tradition of turning cats loose in libraries to catch rodents dates to the 19th Century, when the British government encouraged their use for that purpose, said Boston filmmaker Gary Roma.
Roma, who produced "Puss in Books: Adventures of the Library Cat" in 1998, has been tracking library cats since and even has a Web site devoted to the subject.
Based on his personal survey, Roma said he estimates at least 150 cats currently prowl local libraries, including a half-dozen in Illinois.
Roma's page of Library Cats is at his ironfrog.com website. Library cats are also used to promote reading programs.