HOGANSVILLE— These days, it’s not uncommon for patrons of the Hogansville Library to see a lanky, brown-striped tabby cat roaming the shelves in the library lobby or catching a few rays of sunshine on one of the tables near from the window.
The cat, who library staff affectionately call Skippy, acts as the library’s feline mascot who spends her days roaming the neighborhoods and the nearby library.
Skippy, believed to be between three and five years old, first arrived at the Hogansville Library in the summer of 2021, said Wendy Knight, director of collections at the Hogansville Library.
“I started noticing a cat under my car, and she was hanging around [beside the building]recalls Knight, an animal lover. “We started feeding her outside.”
Eventually, she made her way inside when the library’s back door was opened, said Rebecca Keller, the library’s community engagement librarian. She and other library staff loved the calm demeanor of the cat and invited her to stay.
Knight said they asked “forgiveness rather than forgiveness” when it came to asking library director Keith Schuermann for his blessing in allowing Skippy to stay.
“Any opportunity for the public to get involved with the library is wonderful,” Schuermann said. “Rebecca and her team have increased the library’s performance profile tenfold, and I personally appreciate that. Anything that draws attention to what we do as a library is a job well done.
Due to the area’s problems with stray cats and overcrowding, Knight and Keller decided to take Skippy to Newnan to get his shovel. During the appointment, they discovered that she had already been operated on.
“It turned out that it belonged to someone [nearby]”She and another cat were adopted from the pound for pest control, which she’s very good at. This person was told she was an indoor cat, but she didn’t don’t like to stay indoors.
Knight said Skippy’s owner expressed no issues with Skippy’s homelessness and that she and staff took her in as a part-time resident. In exchange for food and attention, she put her pest control skills to work and began eliminating rodent and insect problems the library was experiencing, Knight noted. Library staff named Skippy after Skippyjon Jones, a series of children’s picture books by author Judith Byron Schachner. Keller said Skippy’s sibling cat, Stacks, is also at the library frequently.
Skippy spent her days wandering in and out of the library, visiting patrons at events like the book club and Dungeons and Dragons sessions. Knight said children are especially eager to see the feline whenever they come for the library’s weekly storytelling events or to return their books.
There was a brief period at the end of the summer when it appeared that Skippy had left home part-time. She disappeared for nearly a month in November, worrying staff and breaking the hearts of the library’s youngest patrons. Keller and Knight learned that a nearby individual had picked her up.
“The number of children who would come and ask ‘Where’s Skippy?’ and having to tell them she’s not there, and we don’t know where she is, was like telling kids there’s no Santa Claus,” Keller said. “I saw children crying. It was heartbreaking.
However, Skippy returned to the library on Sunday after Thanksgiving unfazed and resumed her normal routine. Skippy is now allowed to go back and forth as she pleases and organizes her time between the library and other stops in the community. When Skippy has had enough of the public for a day, she sometimes resides on Knight’s desk where she occasionally has access to a snack, plenty of sunlight, and plenty of tight spaces to crawl through. Knight, Keller, and a few patrons foot the bill for Skippy’s food and other necessities, which makes her time at the library all the more comfortable.
“He’s really not just a library cat,” Keller said. “It’s a community chat.”