Dewey’s origins were questionable as was his introduction to library director Vicki Myron. January 18, 1988 was a frigid Monday in Spencer. « It was a killing freeze, the kind that made it almost painful to breathe. » When Vicki arrived at the library that morning her assistant told her she had heard a noise coming from a metal slot, the library’s after-hours drop box behind the building. Soon, they both heard the noise and thought it was an animal. The opening of the box was only a few inches wide, so whatever it was had to be very small. Being metal the box was even colder than it was outside, and there in a corner of the box was a tiny kitten.
And in this tender story, Myron, the library director, tells of the impact the cat, named DeweyReadmore Books, had on the library and its patrons, and on Myron herself. Through her developing relationship with the feline, Myron recounts the economic and social history of Spencer as well as her own success story—despite an alcoholic husband, living on welfare, and health problems ranging from the difficult birth of her daughter, Jodi, to breast cancer. The people of Spencer, Iowa were going through tough times during the farm crisis of that time. Depression, ennui seemed to be everywhere.
After her divorce, Myron graduated college (the first in her family) and stumbled into a library job. She quickly rose to become director, realizing early on that this was a job I could love for the rest of my life.
Dewey, meanwhile, brings disabled children out of their shells, invites businessmen to pet him with one hand while holding the Wall Street Journal with the other, eats rubber bands and becomes a media darling.
What difference can one small animal make? Dewey’s story spread across state lines and even around the world. In 2003 Japanese Public Television filmed Dewey, and his obituary ran in well over 200 newspapers.
His story will warm your hearts, make you laugh and cry. Don’t miss it.