Monday, May 23, 2016

The True Tails of Baker and Taylor by Jan Louch with Lisa Rogak

If you're a librarian, you'll recognize the names of Baker and Taylor. For those who are not, that's the name of a library book wholesaler. Those were also the names of two Scottish Fold cats, the mascots of a public library in Nevada. The True Tails of Baker and Taylor is the story of those cats, told by the librarian who took care of them for fifteen years, Jan Louch, with assistance from Lisa Rogak.

In 1982, the Douglas County Library System in Nevada built a new library in Minden. It wasn't long before Louch and the library director, Yvonne, saw mice behind the library. The new library had been built on an alfalfa field, and that meant mice. Jan and Yvonne decided to get two cats, and, once they did research about cats who would be good in a public building, they pooled their resources and bought a Scottish Fold, naming him Baker. It was going to take time to save up money for the second cat, but after Yvonne wrote to Baker & Taylor about their plans for the pair of cats, the company offered to buy the second cat for the library. In exchange, they wanted a few pictures to make a poster. Once librarians saw the poster of those two cats, Baker and Taylor became the first famous library cats.

This book is the story of two library cats, but it's also Jan Louch's story. She grew up in California, married a man who became a college professor, had two children, and was devastated when he said he wanted a divorce. In a fog, she moved to Nevada, and she and the kids moved in with her parents. But, as a child it was her love of books that kept her sane. And, in 1978, at the age of forty-seven, that love of books found her a job at the public library in Minden. But, it was really Louch's relationship with Baker and Taylor that lifted her out of the post-divorce fog.

Baker and Taylor pre-dated Dewey, the library cat. They became famous throughout the library world, on bags, calendars, and other giveaways. But, they also became part of the community, and Jan Louch's heart. The cats represented the library to people who had never been in the library. But, here's a warning. This book will break your heart. It can't be helped. The book was just published, and the cats were library cats in the 1980s and 1990s. You know how the book will end. I sobbed throughout the last seventy pages or so.

The True Tails of Baker and Taylor is the story of two cats who brought a library staff together, brought a community together, and mended Jan Louch's heart. It's a story for all of us who love cats, books, and libraries.

The True Tails of Baker and Taylor by Jan Louch with Lisa Rogak. Thomas Dunne Books. 2016. ISBN 9781250081070 (hardcover), 288p.

FTC Full Disclosure - The publisher gave me a copy of the book, hoping I would review it.


SandyG265 said...

This sounds good but my library doesn't have it.

Lesa said...

It is good, Sandy. Darn. I'm sorry they don't have it.

Ingrid King said...

I loved this book. Such a wonderful story - but like you, even knowing it was coming, I cried my way through the last pages.

Reine said...

What a great story this seems, despite what likely is the ending. Thank you. R

Lesa said...

It was hard to let go of them, wasn't it, Ingrid?

Lesa said...

You're welcome, Reine. It was a terrific story, despite the tears at the end.