Booker the cat helps bring people into Port Austin library

March 31, 2022
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If you have visited the Port Austin library at all since late 2019, you probably noticed a feline wandering the building making guests feel at home.

Booker, the orange cat that has taken up residence there, has been living at the library for two and a half years, with his third anniversary taking place in September.

Mary Jaworski, the library director, said that when she came home from work one day, she heard a noise in her garage. That was where she found Booker, who was very small, blind in his right eye, and could not eat.

“I tried to find someone to take care of him,” Jaworski said. “My husband said, ‘We’ll keep him if no one else wants him.’ One of our board members said, ‘We need a cat here.’ Booker was the lucky choice.”

The Sleeper Public Library in Ubly also has a cat roaming its premises, Booker Theodorus Sleeper, who was adopted by the library back in 2011. The Sebewaing Township Library will bring in a dog sometimes, but the animal does not live in the premises.

Jaworski said the idea of bringing a cat in would make the place homier, and when it was decided to bring Booker inside, a fund was started to get all his shots to make sure he was safe.

Booker’s belongings include a cat tree and several beds in the center and eastern parts of library. No cat toys can be found on the western side where most of the bookshelves are, so people do not trip over Booker.

He has also been blessed with people being very supportive of him, donating lots of toys and food.

“There are people who will call and ask if they haven’t been here in a while,” Jaworski said. “There are people constantly asking about him and worrying about him. People stop here just to see him.”

The kids that have come to the library love Booker and constantly play with him, as Jaworski believes the cat has helped draw more kids into the library.

According to Jaworski, most of the compliments the library gets about Booker are about how silly he is and how he likes getting his belly rubbed. He has been well-behaved, as he has not scratched anyone or moved any furniture around.

“He does like to be the greeter,” Jaworski said, with Booker often walking up to people who enter the front door or are checking books out. “If people bring bags, he has to be right on top of that. He climbed into someone’s purse the other day.”

Despite the love that people have for Booker, Jaworski feels that having one library cat is enough. She is allergic to cats, and two would be a bit more than she could handle. Booker is also used to being just by himself.

“We’re glad he’s here,” Jaworski said. “He does help draw people in. That is what we want.”

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