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March Meowness: Library Says, Pay your Fines in Felines!

Cat-astrophe averted! If you owe money to this Massachusetts library, you can give them a photo of a kitty and be the cat’s meow again… in good standing.

By Liz Days · March 29, 2024

This cat knows what books you lost last summer. May Bird/Flickr

Getting money back for lost or damaged books can feel like herding cats, so for the month of March, a Massachusetts library is accepting payment of fees in the form of fee..lines.

That’s right, if you’re still feeling guilty for that lost borrowed copy of The Sound and the Fury that you never finished, don’t be a scaredy cat - give the Worcester Public Library something furry, and everything’ll be sound. Yup! You can pay them with photos of cats! 

It took a few keen eyes to notice that a whole lotta local youth had built up some hefty fines since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this seemed to be just the catnip they needed to get those book-craving kids and other avid readers back into circulation.

The catty librarians will gladly receive pics of your krazy kitty, your friend’s testy tabby, or even a drawing of a calico cuddler in place of cold, hard cash. The drawings do not have to be museum quality, but for the sake of all Worcester library goers, please make an effort.

Did The Big Cat Drawing Book you borrowed and left at your pyro cousin’s house in 2021 teach you nothing???

As of now, live cats, cat food, dressing in a cat costume, or singing songs from the hit Andrew Lloyd Webber musical “Cats” are not appropriate forms of payment, but maybe someday that rule will be just a memory…all alone in the moonlight.

TERRIFYING... and also not accepted as payment.  JJ Foster/Flickr

“We will accept honorary cats* as well,” they say, “so you may show us a picture or drawing of a dog, raccoon, orca, capybara, or any other animal.” 

In other words, don’t worry about all your dog-eared texts; you’re free as a bird now, chickadee! But please be careful when approaching wild animals to take their photo; the last thing anyone wants is to lose you AND your borrowed copy of Animal Farm.

According to the library, more than 400 accounts were cleared of fines during the first five days of what they call “March Meowness”.

They may be low on books and money, but (shhhhh!) they’re now a veritable fancy feast of felines, and their cat-alogue is full.

If only we could pay down student loans and credit card debt this way. Wouldn’t that be just purr-fect? (Support your local libraries.)

*The term “honorary cat” is not recognized by the cat community.