In the original Star Trek television series (1966-1969), the crew of the U.S.S. Enterprise was engaged in a five-year mission "to explore strange new worlds, to seek out new life and new civilizations, to boldly go where no man has gone before." Here at Mooresville Public Library, we are now completing our own five-year mission, in which "strange new worlds" have been explored. To modify the Star Trek mission statement, we've gone where no cat has gone before. Well, sort of.
Cauli Le Chat, MPL Feline Roving Reporter
On December 19, 2010, Cauli Le Chat became the official MPL feline roving reporter. She started a blog, Cat's Eye View @ MPL, promoting the library, its programs and events, collections, displays, and special services. She explored Mooresville, Indiana and discussed topics of local or regional interest. She also addressed lots of other subjects--whatever happened to strike her fancy. She posted 1,297 articles to her blog in five years, and her readership has reached 317,156 (as of today). Hers was the library's most popular blog, exceeded in social media impact only by the MPL YouTube Channel (with currently almost three-quarters of a million video viewings). Her primary blog's popularity produced a spin-off: another blog designed especially for children, Catch It @ MPL (Cauli 4 Kids) (2011-2014).
Cauli Le Chat wearing her press hat
Patrons sometimes asked if they could see Cauli when visiting the library. However, Cauli did not live inside the library; rather, she lived just down the street and would hang around outside the library, usually in the Kinder Garden or by the staff door, where she could get treats. For inside or offsite reporting, Cauli often relied upon her trusted minions (who worked or volunteered inside), or upon her alter ego, "Flat" Cauli. Actually, there were several "Flat" Caulis, and each had a slightly different personality from the living, breathing original feline.
MPL Kinder Garden Outdoor Program Area
Cauli's family moved away in December, 2013, but then returned across town in June, 2014, when she officially resumed her roving reporter duties. In March, 2015, she retired, no longer able to hang-out at the library. She continued to post articles to her blog, however. With the fifth anniversary of her blog approaching in December, she has decided to wind things up. She isn't getting any younger, and neither are her minions, so she thinks it's time to go out on a high note, so to speak. "I don't want my minions dribbling like slobberdogs while typing my brilliant observations," she reflected. "Bad for my image."
Many libraries around the world have resident felines who act as "spokescritters" serving patrons and promoting services and collections. Although MPL had resident animals prior to 2010, none actively used social media (or other media, for that matter) to engage the public. Cauli was indeed our social media pioneer, and we're pleased with the results.
Perhaps at some future time MPL will obtain a resident "spokescritter" like many other libraries, several of which were linked at the bottom of Cauli's blogs. But none will write about the world in quite the same way as Cauli. Hers was a unique feline perspective, and we will miss her musings and witticisms.