Michelle Ann Kratts

Noel, The Lewiston Library Cat

In Christmas, Lewiston Public Library on December 11, 2013 at 4:31 pm
Noel and her kittens at the Lewiston Public Library  April 1971

Noel and her kittens at the Lewiston Public Library
April 1971

Years ago cats were a welcome fixture in public libraries throughout the country.  No one seemed to mind having them around and it might be mentioned that they loved the intellectual atmosphere–as well as the cozy alcoves that book places seem to provide.  Lewiston had Noel.  Most people I mention Noel to remember her fondly.  She appeared out of a winter storm one December night back in 1970.  Mrs. Scipione, Lewiston librarian, didn’t have the heart to leave her out in the cold and she welcomed her inside.  Noel decided that, even as the storm eventually lifted, the library was the perfect home.

Although Noel spent most of her day strolling through the old stacks of books, her favorite moments were when the children came into the library.  Many a Lewiston child looked forward to getting their homework done with Noel–for she would find a spot on top of the tables that they worked at.

By spring time it became apparent that Noel was going to have kittens.  On March 11, 1971, the checkout area of the Lewiston Library was transformed into a maternity ward.  The staff stayed after hours to assist Noel as she gave birth to four healthy little kittens.  Eventually all of the kittens found homes and Noel continued as the official “Library Cat” of the Lewiston Library.  According to an article printed in the Niagara Falls Gazette, April 1, 1971, “…in her official capacity she is providing a learning experience for children who are not allowed to have pets at home. At the Lewiston Library they can learn from their own experiences how to treat an animal properly and how, in turn she will react to kindness.”

Today, things are quite different.  It is unimaginable that a librarian will ever welcome a cat in out of storm again.  There are many rules against such things.  Our world is one of security systems and horrendous feline allergies…and the stories of the library cats are merely fairy tales we read to our children on cold winter’s nights.

Please let us know of your own library cat story.  Are there any library cats left or have they gone the way of the dinosaur?

  1. Hi there. I’m glad you posted this about the Lewiston Library’s cat. I was about ten years old when the cat arrived and, though an infrequent visitor to the library, do recall that the feline presence was a neat characteristic of the place.

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