Whisper, a library cat in Mabank, a town 54 miles southeast of Dallas, has been unceremoniously fired, and residents are working a petition to get her reinstated.
The city of Mabank recently took over management of the Tri-County Library after 25 years in private hands and promptly gave Whisper the boot.
Like many feline librarians, Whisper is the main reason some people put their Kindles aside to visit the library. One library volunteer who doesn’t even like cats that much has seen Whisper’s effect on visitors and suggests keeping Whisper as a marketing tool.
My opinion? A cat is a purrfect way to lure young folks into the library and focus on something other than their iPhones for an hour or two. While they sit with a purring cat on their laps they can take in that wonderful library smell and fall in love with real page-turning books all over again.
After she got the boot, about a dozen people attended a City Council meeting and tried to persuade the town to keep the cat, who was adopted by the library board eight years ago. Their idiot mayor, Jeff Norman, said keeping the cat would set a precedent for other employees who might want to bring a pets to work.
City Manager Bryant Morris said he received letters from the city’s attorney and insurance agency recommending that Whisper be removed from the library, in part because of health concerns relating to the cat’s proximity to the library’s kitchen. However, Whisper is covered under the city’s insurance policy.
Council member Larry Teague told the Monitor that when the library was privately held, “we’ve said nothing against” Whisper. “But things are different now,” he said. “There’s liability.”
Residents and fans of the cat have started a grassroots campaign to save Whisper’s job. A petition has been circulated around the town of about 3,200.
Sydney Busch is the cat’s primary caregiver and brings Whisper back to her home every weekend and to the library on Mondays.
She recommended that the library board adopt the sweet kitten about eight years ago. Busch’s organization, Friends of the Animals, spayed and vaccinated Whisper and still provides all her food, toys and other needs. “She has never been an expense to the library,” says Busch.
Whisper isn’t the first library cat to get a pink slip this year. The White Settlement Public Library was given a month to find Browser a new place to live after the City Council voted in June to oust the feline from the stacks.Two weeks later, after much public outcry, city leaders reversed their decision and allowed Browser to stay. Let’s hope Whisper is as lucky.
Here’s the Mayor Jeff Norman’s contact information if you want to protest:
Phone: (903) 880-9906
Snail Mail: Mabank City Hall, 129 East Market Street, Mabank TX 75147