taking a picture of a cat
Leah Berenson
Leah Berenson
April 5, 2024 ·  5 min read

Library Lets You Pay Late Fees With Cat Pics (Yes, Really)

The days of quiet hallways, severe stares, and librarians making small talk with everyone are long gone from libraries. This is being persuasively demonstrated by a Massachusetts library with a paw-full of creativity and a whisker of joy.

The goal of the Worcester Public Library’s March Meowness initiative is to encourage patrons to return, even if they have misplaced or broken materials. All that is required to accept this offer is to provide a photo, artwork, or even a cat-related magazine clipping.

That is correct, really. March Meowness is all about supporting “Felines for Fee Forgiveness,” so a cuddly cat can pay one’s library dues. “Have costs for misplaced or broken Worcester Public Library items?” According to the library’s website. “We will waive your expenses if you send us a photo of a cat—any kind of cat, please.”

Cat Pictures Pay Fines at Fun Library Program

The Massachusetts Library expressed their want to have patrons return and made it plain that they are not prevented from doing so by overdue dues. As a result, they developed the program to get readers to return by promising to waive their fees in exchange for displaying an image of a cat. This not only allows individuals to express their affection for cuddly cats, but it also gives the concept of returning to the library a whimsical and enjoyable touch.

The Worcester Public Library where cat pics can be used as late fees for March,
Image Credits: Worcester Public Library

A Massachusetts library’s new monthly program is injecting a dash of fun. “We want you back at the library, so we’re waiving one month’s worth of fees for any missing or damaged Worcester Public Library materials! The library stated on its website, “Show us a picture of your cat, a famous cat, a picture you drew of a cat, a shelter cat — any cat, and we will forgive WPL fees on your library account.”

“We acknowledge that mishaps may occur and that occasionally, fines may prevent you from making full use of your public library. The statement went on, “We hope you’ll join us as we celebrate March Meowness at all of our Worcester Public Library locations.”

Speaking about the project, the executive director of the library, Jason Homer, mentioned that patrons can even bring in photos of lions and tigers.

Jason told WBUR, “You can still draw a cat even if you don’t have one in your life.” “Even if it’s a large feline, such as a lion or tiger, which we will be thrilled to see.”

People can use cat images as payment at the Worcester Public Library.

In addition, he described March Meowness as a program that lasts the entire month and consists of various cat-themed events in addition to the forgiveness of dues. This month’s events include a DIY cat toy workshop, a talk by a trained cat behaviorist, a cat eye makeup tutorial, and a tonne of other adorable and entertaining things.

Librarians Unite in Feline Fines Forgiveness!

As Jason said to the source, “We librarians love our cats.” We’re focusing a lot on the overall fact that librarians love cats. We therefore reasoned, “Let’s focus on the joke.” Together, let’s have fun and join in on the joke.

Jason clarified that the library wants to give individuals another chance because many people lost their books during the pandemic, either when moving or because they were confined to empty classrooms for months. He remarked, “We understand that life gets in the way.”

Jason told WBUR, “We at the Worcester Public Library are always looking for ways to reduce barriers.” “Unfortunately, we know that many people lost a lot of materials as a result of living in temporary housing displacement or having their lives interrupted by the global pandemic.”

In just a few days, the library’s March Meowness has already proven popular. Even before the first week of the month is over, March Meowness has already proven to be a huge success with the Massachusetts library.

About 400 people, according to Jason, had come back to the library’s entrance as of Monday after bringing drawings and photos of cats. Additionally, the same amount of people have had their borrowing privileges reinstated or their library accounts unblocked.

Now, the library’s grounds feature an expanding “cat wall” full of reader-submitted pictures and sketches. We accept a lot of honorary cats, according to a comment from Jason. “Any animal that is unruly.” The executive director of the library declared, “We librarians love our cats.” When Jason stated that someone does not actually need to be a cat parent in order for this to work, he truly meant it.

Cat Pictures Rule at Worcester Library

In one instance, the staff of the library gave a 7-year-old child who didn’t have a cat at home paper and crayons so he could draw a cat any way he pleased. The boy was then pardoned for misplacing the book “Captain Underpants” and had his library card reinstated.

Jason added that March Meowness has assisted them in dispelling the myth that librarians are invariably stiff. He remarked, “We really don’t have the high buns and shush people anymore.” “Cat lovers, cardigan lovers, and book lovers we still are.” The library also wants to use March Meowness to alter the perception that the public has of libraries.

The Worcester Public Library declared March to be Meowness Month and disclosed that they have a plethora of feline-themed events planned for the public to enjoy, beginning with a kick-off celebration on March 2. The library posted on Facebook, offering information on how to get involved with the Worcester Animal Rescue League and Second Chance Animal Services, make cat toys for your own pet or to donate to shelter cats, vote in the March Meowness bracket, browse some cat-related books, and have your fees for any misplaced or damaged items waived. The internet came to the conclusion that combining libraries and cats is like combining two of the nicest things in life.

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