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Max has been in the news a bit lately. According to everybody who knows Max, he is a well behaved cat. He doesn’t bite or scratch. He doesn’t yowl all night, keeping people awake. He really doesn’t do anything to bother anyone, except for one minor habit.
Max likes to hang out in the library.
You see, Max was spending a lot of time at the Macalester University’s DeWitt Wallace Library in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He would stand around outside the door until someone opened it, then he would go inside.
Max’s owner, Connie Lipton, said, “We live near the college and so it was easy for him to just go over and hang out with all the students. Most of the students love him, and he loves their attention.”
“As the fall semester picked up, Max started slipping into the library behind them, as well as into a few other buildings, the athletic center and a dorm.”
Pretty much everyone was OK with Max being in the library until an employee with a serious cat allergy pointed out that fact. Library workers were also concerned that Max might get locked inside the building.
So Max was banned from the library. It made sense and everyone understood that the banishment was for the good of all.
According to library employee Barbara K. Laskin, “Library staff have generally been able to keep Max out of the building, and although they are animal lovers, they know that not everyone is comfortable with cats and that some people are seriously allergic to them,” she said in an interview. “Most of all, everyone wants to make sure Max is safe and well.”
Everyone understood. Everyone, that is, except Max.
The cat continued to hang out near the doors outside the building. If a student wasn’t paying attention or some kind-hearted soul saw the kitty waiting there and held the door, he would scamper into the building.
The library staff put up signs asking people not to let Max in.
Anyone who has been on a college campus has seen signs…lots of signs. There are signs everywhere advertising things for sale, places for rent, people wanting rides, or jobs, or many other things.
College kids are accustomed to ignoring signs.
Max kept coming in.
Staff needed to get students’ attention to enlist their help in keeping the library cat-free. So a couple of them got together and created a sign with a cute drawing of a sad-faced Max on it, and the words, “Please do not let in the cat. His name is Max. Max is nice. His owner does not want Max in the Library. We do not want Max in the Library. Max wants to be in the Library. Please do not let Max into the Library.”
Somebody tweeted the cute sign and Max became a celebrity. Twitter users had a lot of fun tweeting comments and making suggestions.
A tweet from one fan announced that he was a lawyer and wanted to fight discrimination against cats by filing a “clawsuit.”
Sevinth- Great One@SevinthStreams tweeted, “Please allow this kind and gentle soul the right to good literature that he deserves more than anyone.”
Some have suggested that his favorite books might be, “Catlas Shrugged,” “Nineteen Eighty-fur,” “The Prince and the Pawpurr,” “A Tail of Two Kitties,” and any books by J.K. Meowling.
One fan even borrowed Max’s own voice to pen:
“ma nam is max
is plain to see
mah favrit place
i sneak to it
cross fields and brooks
and wen im in
i lik the books”
One, who identified herself as “Erin McGuire@e mcguire” observed, “This is basically halfway to being a children’s book.
“Finn. a Human@relsgui” was inspired. He wrote a rhyme.
“Please do not let in the cat,”
the sign said. By the door he sat.
His name was Max, I read and learned.
“He’s nice,” but this cat hadn’t earned
the right to come inside and read.
Why could it be? What did he need?
Every time Max went inside,
librarians from far and wide
would chase him out and whisper “Shoo!”
His owner had forbade him too.
Poor cat. No human thought that he
belonged inside the library.
It seemed unjust to me that Max
was not allowed to browse the stacks!
So I set out to make it right,
with pen and paper, desk and light.
I filed the forms. It wasn’t hard.
And now Max has a library card.
Sevinth- Great One@SevinthStreams followed through on that idea and actually made Max a library card.
Now they had MY attention. I might not be able to solve the problem of Max the cat wanting in the library, but I COULD help them write their children’s book.
I combined the sign and a bit of my own imagination to produce:
The Problem of Max the Library Cat
by Scott Matthews
“Please do not let the cat in.
His name is Max. Max is nice.
His owner does not want Max in the library.
We do not want Max in the library.
Max wants to be in the library.
Please do not let Max into the library.”
They clearly want to keep him out,
so Max must sit outside and pout.
He wants the doors to open wide.
How’d “The Cat in the Hat” get inside?
To problem solve I set my brain,
and satisfy poor Max’s pain.
Because he’s a cat, he has been banned
From entering the library, his chosen land.
He sits outside the door and waits,
while his many loving fans debate.
To regain access, what does he need?
Max, I say, must learn to read!
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(above) Max is a happy, healthy, loving cat whose problems are in the news.