ELKHART COUNTY _ While walking around the Bristol library, people may come across a furry feline among the stacks of books.
Page Turner, a recently adopted cat, has been residing at the Bristol Public Library for about six weeks, according to Carol Anderson, director of the Bristol Public Library.
“We wrote a letter to the board, and told them all about the benefits about having a cat in the library, and a cat especially because she has to be here by herself at night,” Anderson said. “Amazingly they all agreed, it was unanimous, and we did a really good job. So we went to the shelter and picked Page out, and she has been perfect.”
Page the cat was adopted from the Humane Society shelter. The library also has an aquarium.
"Brad is our big shark and the kids love Brad, but they can’t pet Brad, so we just thought she would make a great addition," said Anderson.
Page's presence at the library has been so much better then they thought, according to Anderson. “We knew that a cat in the library would be great, and the history of cats and libraries goes back like 3,000 years. In ancient Egypt, they had cats in the library so that the book bindings wouldn’t get eaten by rats.”
They picked Page out with the help of the shelter after spending hours at the shelter meeting a lot of cats, but Page was just perfect for them, according to Anderson.
“Tehillah Moses, children’s coordinator, had a Meet Page Storytime, and she made kitty cat masks, and Page was perfect, she just laid in front of the kids while Tehilliah read to them,” Anderson said about how Page has been beneficial for the library.
Just as Page is doing her part at the library, the Elkhart County Feral Cat Coalition is also hoping to raise awareness about cats, this time, those children may encounter in their nerighborhood.
The coalition purchased 100 of “The Cats on my Block” children’s book and donated them throughout the community at local libraries and elementary schools. They have also given a copy to businesses, hospitals, and veterinarian offices, according to Bralick.
“The book is the first of it’s kind, (and) explaining all about outdoor feral (free-roaming/ community) cats for children to understand what they are, how they are different from inside domestic cats, and how to care for them and take care of them,” Chris Bralick, president of the Elkhart County Feral Cat Coalition said.
“We have also mailed a copy of the book to Spay-Neuter Services of Indiana (SNSI), and Bremen public library after they saw it and requested one,” said Bralick. “We have had several places do a nice display of the book, along with information about the cats.”
Their goal, according to Bralick, is to educate the younger generation coming up about humane treatment of animals. “Children are so very receptive to kind treatment and are eager to learn.
“We are able to purchase several of the books through a grant from the Huff Animal Protection Trust,” Bralick said. “The book is published and printed by the Humane Society of New York and the sale of the books benefit their own Trap, Neuter, Return (TNR) program,” Bralick said. “We are hoping that other groups will follow suit and distribute the books all across Indiana.”
The connections that the coalition are hoping to make with kids is shared by Page Turner's human caretakers at the Bristol library.
One of the main reason why that the Bristol Public Library wanted to get a cat was that a lot of kids don’t have animals. "I think it’s important to have that in kids' lives," said Anderson. “The kids had been fantastic with her. We knew the kids would love Page, but it’s the adults that have surprised us.”
Anderson has people that come in just to say hi to Page. “We have kids that used to come into the library once a week, and now they’re asking their parents to come in three or four times week, and they come in and just go straight for Page.
“It makes us feel wonderful. It’s been a surprise. We knew she would be popular, but how popular we didn’t know,” said Anderson.