The story of Dewey Readmore Books, the orphaned cat who for 19 years charmed his way into the hearts and laps of patrons at the Spencer (Iowa) Public Library, may have more than nine lives.
Since Dewey’s heartwarming tale appeared in American Profile in 2004, the late library cat has gained international fame in two best-selling books, and his story is destined for a Hollywood movie.
“It’s been a wild ride, thanks to Dewey,” says Vicki Myron, 62, the former head librarian who found the whimpering, nearly frozen kitten in the library’s book drop in January 1988.
While Dewey died in Myron’s arms in 2006, the story lives on of how the beloved cat brought hope and joy to the economically depressed farming community and Myron as she battled personal and medical problems.
Dewey inspired the 2008 No. 1 New York Times best-seller Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World, and the 2009 children’s picture book Dewey: There’s a Cat in the Library! catapulted to No. 2 on The New York Times best-seller list.
Dewey the Library Cat: A True Story was published in May, and two other Dewey-themed books are scheduled for October release. Film rights to Dewey’s story were sold to New Line Cinema, with Meryl Streep cast as Myron.
“I get tons and tons of fan mail from around the world, some addressed to Vicki Myron, Dewey’s Mom, Iowa USA,” Myron says. “I not only hear from cat fans, but from single mothers, cancer survivors and people who’d given up on life.”
Hundreds of fans today make pilgrimages to the Spencer Public Library to admire a bronze statue of Dewey and to walk in his paw prints.
“They want to see the book drop and where he ate and slept,” Myron says. “I’ts incredible. Dewey touched so many lives.”