Library cat Taylor dies at age 15 |

Library cat Taylor dies at age 15

Linda Hiller

For library cat lovers, the days when a visit to the Douglas County library could include a feline to pet while perusing the stacks for literature is over.

At the age of 15, Taylor, the last surviving Douglas County library cat died Friday of cancer and old age. He was preceeded in death by his uncle, Baker, in 1994.

“All good things must come to an end,” said Carolyn Rawles-Heiser, library director. “Everyone here is upset – even more so than when Baker died, I think, because it’s all over.”

Baker and Taylor, the Scottish Fold library cats, have been seen in publications all over the world as print mascots for the Baker and Taylor Co., the world’s largest wholesaler of books to libraries.

The relationship between the library and the book company began 15 years ago, when two cat lovers, who also happened to work at the library, librarian Jan Louch and the county’s first library director, Yvonne Saddler, decided to get a kitten as a library cat. They got a Scottish Fold cat and named him Baker.

After talking to a representative of the Baker and Taylor Co. about the feline acquisition, another Scottish Fold kitten, Taylor, who happened to be the nephew of Baker, was donated it to the library by the book company.

Photographs of the duo were used in the worldwide advertising of Baker and Taylor Co.

The death of Taylor brings to an end the presence of library cats in the Minden library. Officials there made an agreement among themselves not to replace the cats due to “issues with people who have difficulty using the library because of the cats,” Rawles-Heiser said. She added that an Americans With Disabilities Act complaint had been filed against the library.

When Baker died, Rawles-Heiser said a plaque was ordered and displayed in his honor at the library. The same is planned for Taylor in the spring.

At that time, a film on library cats made by Massachusetts film maker, Gary Roma, will be released, premiering in March.

“Baker and Taylor are prominently featured in the film, as well as Jan Louch,” who took care of the cats on weekends until she retired in October.

“We will be getting a copy of that film in the spring,” Rawles-Heiser said.

Leslie Kramm, a 2nd grade teacher from Gahanna, Ohio, has been having her students correspond with the cats for the past four years. This year, the students sent handmade Christmas ornaments featuring the cats. The ornaments are currently on the Christmas tree at the library on 1625 Library Lane.

“We had a good thing for 15 years and are sad to see it come to an end,” Rawles-Heiser said. “But even if we tried to replace them, it would never be Baker and Taylor.”