Ponoka Jubilee Library

Alberta, Canada

Resident 2009-to?

Charlie has been the resident cat since October 2009 at the Ponoka Jubilee Library in the small Canadian town of Ponoka, in central Alberta. She was given up to a vet's clinic by a woman who could no longer care for her — a fairly common story — but in Charlie's case it almost had a sad ending, as she was in line for euthanasia quite imminently had the library not been seeking a cat. A survey had been carried out, indicating that 90% of those participating favoured adopting a library cat, but the move had to be approved by the town council which owns the library. According to one councillor, the debate over whether to allow the cat prompted longer and more animated debate than any previous topic on the town records

The result was fortunately in Charlie's favour. Mindful of possible complaints from patrons, though, every new library card issued is accompanied by the information that there's a cat on the premises, and then if anyone comes in who does have an allergy or a strong dislike to her, she is kept in the back room during that person's visit. She also does not attend Storytime. However, she is very popular among most people, and many donations are received towards her upkeep. Ultimately library staff take full responsibility for her food, litter, vet's bills and also for feeding her when the library is closed; there's no question of any taxpayer money being used.

It's uncertain how old Charlie is; her previous owner heard about the adoption and claimed she was at least 15, but the vet puts her at nearer 10. It took her a little while to get used to library life, and possibly she is not the ideal 'meeter and greeter', but now she's considered a great asset and a wonderful booster to staff morale. Most days she will be found snoozing in a large wicker basket behind the circulation desk, or maybe on a lap and 'helping' with some typing. For physical activity she uses the photocopier as a springboard to jump up on a 7-foot-high shelf where there's a spider plant that takes her fancy. Rumours that she deliberately mis-shelves some books about birds are unsubstantiated!


Ponoka Jubilee Library , located in central Alberta, Canada, welcomed Charlie to the staff in October 2009. She is a small 14-year old calico who had been deemed ‘too old’ to move when her owner did so had been scheduled to be put down. One of the vet’s assistants contacted us and we rescued her and she lives and reigns here at the library. We had had a vote regarding getting a library cat and a huge majority of respondents were in favour. We had a long list of requirements: had to be a rescue cat, spayed, older, declawed would be a perq—and Charlie filled the bill. Her favourite spot is in a large willow basket up on a high counter behind the circulation desk where she can lift her weary head every once in awhile and check things out. Charlie has a few personality issues, being a grumpy old girl at times, but is a popular addition to our team. There is a large senior contingent to our town’s demographic and they love having a surrogate pet. Donations of a bed, money, toys, food and litter are regular, even after 8 months. Our staff of four are all cat owners, so Charlie is well loved and our library is a warmer place because of her.

Information last updated: 2014