Title: The True Tails of Baker and Taylor
Author: Jan Louch
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Publication Date: 2016
In the early 1980’s, a new library was built in Douglas County, Nevada. As is often with new construction, there were mice. Unpleasant in any place, mice present a more dangerous problem in a library. Attracted the glue, mice will eat through books and the taxpayer’s investment. So, librarians and cat lovers Jan and Yvonne decide the best solution would be to get a cat. With the library board’s approval, a purebred Scottish Fold named Baker joined the staff. Such begins the true tale of two amazing cats and the people who loved them.
Baker quickly became a fixture of the library; his presence seemed to deter mice and so his job expanded to Official Greeter. Patrons young and old would scratch him behind the ears as they were checking books out, and when he wasn’t at the circulation desk, they would seek him out in the sunniest spot they could find.
Jan and Yvonne purchased Baker and paid for all this needs – food, toys, litter, vet visits – out of their own personal salaries. As much as they wanted a companion for Baker, time was need for more funds to be saved.
Baker & Taylor is a worldwide distributor of books; Bill Hartman, the sales and marketing director for the western division of the company, stopped in the library every few months to talk about books. A few days after a visit, Jan and Yvonne received a surprising call from Bill. Baker & Taylor wanted to buy “Taylor” for the library. In exchange, the company wanted to take some pictures of the two cats to use in their marketing campaign. Taylor arrives at the library and after a week or so of adjustment, the library was more relaxed and happier because of Baker and Taylor.
The story goes on to tell of the impact that these two cats made on the lives of these librarians and the library patrons. As the ad campaign became successful, Baker and Taylor were known throughout the world. Children would write letters to the cats and tourists would stop to see them on their travels.
Through changing economics, new technology, and diverse populations, Baker and Taylor remained a fixture for what makes a library so magical. A room full of books, a warm sunbeam, and a cozy cat curled up next to you. Heaven.
I laughed and I cried when I read this book. It is a beautiful tribute to two incredible felines and the woman who cared for them. It is also a reminder of enjoying the simple things in life. The reader gets a feel that the library patrons who filtered in and out of the library over years were touched and enlightened by the presence of these two cats.
As a college student, I spent a few summers working at Robin’s Bookshop in Geneva, Illinois. It was truly the most perfect job I have ever had, surrounded daily by books, and it is one of the places that my love of mysteries developed. One of my favorite jobs at the store was to unpack and catalogue the new books that arrived. Every morning, a pile of Baker & Taylor boxes sat on the doorstep and my anticipation would heighten; what magic might those boxes contain.
Growing up, we always had a menagerie of animals – cats, dogs, a ferret, a guinea pig, a turtle, fish, and even a snake . . . although not while I was living at home. I enjoyed the animals but never felt a compelling reason to have any of my own. Fast forward to my oldest daughter whose first words I think were “I want a cat;” we finally caved almost seven years ago, and are the proud servants (because yes, you are, when you have cats) of Merlin and Arthur. I couldn’t imagine life without them now and as my children get older, they have truly become my other children. And according to my kids, more spoiled!
Who might like this book:,
If you like cats or books or libraries or a really, up-lifting good story, check this book out. The author has a very engaging and straightforward prose that is a delight to read. The subtitle of the book, The Library Cats Who Left Their Pawprints on a Small Town . . . and the World, truly says it all.