By Lyndsie Kiebert-Carey
The Clark Fork Library has a new employee, but he’s more likely to “meow” his greeting than offer book suggestions.
That new addition is Reader, a black-furred, yellow-eyed kitten with an affinity for feline shenanigans and naps among the stacks.
Library Manager Melissa Mankongvanichkul said Reader is fitting in “wonderfully.”
“He’s not scared of people — he’s very social,” she said. “He is very comfortable here.”
Library staff adopted Reader in August after he and his littermates were found abandoned on the side of the road. His natural friendliness sealed his fate as the perfect candidate for a library kitty. He can often be found watching patrons with a keen eye, playing with toys or lounging in nooks and crannies perfectly suited to a curious cat — like the dropbox at the front desk where items are returned.
Reader’s modest expenses — like litter and food — are covered by Friends of the Library, a nonprofit group dedicated to supporting the East Bonner County Library District. Pets for Life, a Humane Society-funded program through the Better Together Animal Alliance in Ponderay, will take care of his medical needs, such as vaccinations and check-ups.
There’s a broad community effort behind helping Reader thrive in his new home, and he will do his part by adding a new element of fun and comfort to the Clark Fork Library.
“Being a smaller library, people say we’re homey here, and cozy, so it’s fitting to have a cat,” Mankongvanichkul said. “He’s our official public greeter, and mascot. Part of his job is to make people feel welcome.”
Of course, Reader is only a kitten, so he’s liable to cause a little mischief here and there. Still, Mankongvanichkul said patrons have been very accepting of the new addition to the staff, and local children can often be found with Reader curled up in their laps or tucked under their arms.
“He has a naughty side to him,” Mankongvanichkul said with a laugh, “but that’s part of his charm.”
To learn more about Friends of the Library or become involved with the group’s volunteer efforts, head to ebonnerlibrary.org/friends. To learn more about Pets for Life and their free animal care services, visit bettertogetheranimalalliance.org/pets-for-life or call 208-265-7297.
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