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Library introduces 'robo kitty' that provided comfort and companionship to visitors

This cuddly cat will not make any fuss and maintain absolute silence in the library as the public library patrons continue their business.

Library introduces 'robo kitty' that provided comfort and companionship to visitors
Cover Image Source: YouTube | Eugene LRCS

It never hurts to have an adorable pet at your workplace or your favorite story and in this case, a cozy library in Eugene, Oregon. According to Oregon Public Broadcasting, the Eugene Public Library is providing more than just reading materials to people. The library has added several sections under its roof where library patrons can check out things like cake pans, board games, sewing machines and even a cat.



 

However, it's not a usual feline that creates a ruckus by jumping around all over the place. This robotic cat looks almost like its real counterpart with fluffy fur and makes a distinct purring sound. “We have three that circulate,” Kate Berry, an adult service supervisor with the library said as she held the fuzzy robot kitty. “We have one in each branch. They all look the same. But they do have particular names to them. If you’re curious, they’re Bandit, Mr. Pickles, and Percival. Those were chosen by staff.”

“They’re typically for folks who maybe are suffering memory loss or maybe just are living alone and kind of lonely,” Berry said, about people taking these cats home as well. “But really anyone can check them out. They purr. They meow. They’re really fun to have.” Heather Sears, a children's services supervisor at the library revealed that the staff at the outlet were so fond of the cats that they even got a couple of gray and white robot cats for themselves.



 

“Because they’re really calming,” Sears said. “There’s research that shows cats purring is therapeutic. So we have a kind of quiet room where we have placed one of our cats. Staff have actually really enjoyed that—maybe you had a stressful part of your day or something’s happened and you just need a moment, and you can come hang out with one of our cats that are here that are not circulating.”



 

These mechanical kitties are actually the newest addition to the Library of Things and like people check out books with the help of library cards, one needs to check these cats out for a brief period of time as well. “We have cake pans. We have games people can check out. Both lawn games and board games. Technology,” said Berry. “We have many things people can check out that are not typical library offerings.”

The section called Library of Things has been there since the early days of the pandemic. “We have ukuleles. But now we’ve added a keyboard, some guitars, tongue drums. We added some educational toys,” Berry mentioned. “We’re kind of thinking of ways to have a lot of things that cover a wide variety of interests while also being able to have those things circulate well to many many people.”



 

“I have yet to have a Library of Things item be something that nobody wants,” Sears quips. “I would say, usually the lawn games tend to not be as popular come January. Honestly, the hard part is just having enough copies of things and getting stuff out fast enough. It takes a long time to process everything, and so we can only do so many Library of Things items per month,” Sears said. 



 

The news about the robotic cat was also shared on Reddit by u/BestOfSalem where it received some positive and funny responses. u/king_rootin_tootin joked: "It can't be bargained with, it can't be reasoned with, it doesn't feel pity or remorse or fear, and it absolutely will not stop ever, until you scratch behind its ears." u/AtsignAmpersat added: "This is how it starts. Well, it already started. Also, using purrfect instead of perfect when speaking of cats has to be the most acceptable pun."

Eugene Public Library Foundation had initially funded the Library of Things but they still don't take donated items to add to the library. However, if someone wants to take a cute kitten home who doesn't need feeding and is still here to comfort you, then Bandit, Mr. Pickles or Percival is here for your rescue. “The goal is for them to be able to brush it, have it sit on their lap, talk to it as if it were a real cat,” Berry concluded.



 

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