Community Issues

This Librarian's Idea To Dress Up Her Cat As Literary Icons Is Purr-fect

She started the project to build up her library's social media presence. Now, her cat is an internet sensation.

When I was little, I loved going to the library. The smell of the books, the seemingly endless selection of things to read, along with the peace and quiet that I rarely got at home with an older brother, made for hours of enjoyment.

These days, with decreases in public funding, along with the fact that most titles are now available digitally, libraries don't always get the attention they deserve.

That's why librarian Lisa Shaffer wanted to come up with a way to grow her library's social media presence while also getting people excited about reading.

Shaffer works for the Centre County Library in Bellefonte, PA. When she started working there, the library didn't have much of a following on social media. So, she asked her co-workers if she could take photos of her cats dressed as different literary icons and artists to post to the library's social media pages to drum up interest.

Lisa Shaffer started taking photos of her cats dressed as different authors and artists to grow the library's social media following. WPSU

When her supervisor agreed to the project, Shaffer got to work designing costumes and setting up photo shoots for her kitties. She posted the photos to the library's social media pages every Saturday, or "Caturday" as Shaffer called it.

Each post is focused around a different book, album or movie, and the costumes range from Shakespearean collars made out of coffee filters to more elaborate sets like the Iron Throne replica that Shaffer created for a 'Game of Thrones' shoot.

Shaffer says she's most proud of the set she built for Horatio's 'Game of Thrones' shoot. Centre County Library/Facebook

"I just started taking books, random books that would be interesting to highlight," Shaffer told WPSU. "Or if it was an author's birthday or anniversary of some event, I would get a picture of one of my cats, mostly Horatio, and it just kind of went from there."

The posts drew thousands of likes and followers, with people tuning in every week just to see Horatio's new outfits.

Even though the 11-year-old tabby is incredibly shy, Shaffer says he's more than willing to be the center of attention in the photo shoots.

"He's just such a gentle soul," Shaffer said. "I think he's also a bit of a ham, too. When we do our 'photo shoots,' as I like to call it, for Caturday, he really does seem to know what's going on."

Some of Horatio's costumes are simple, others are more elaborate. Centre County Library/Facebook

Shaffer has been posting the photos for months, and while she definitely accomplished her goal of growing the library's social media following, she feels the project has had a much greater impact.

"I mean, it's like 'Oh, this is a cat dressed up, this is great,'" Shaffer said about the library's new fans. "It makes them think a little bit. You connect with the library, you connect with literacy, and that's our mission."

Check out even more photos of Horatio the Cat dressed as different cultural icons and literary heroes...

Librarian Dresses Her Cat As Famous Literary Icons And Artists

Horatio dressed as Lady Gaga got a lot of likes.

How can you start something good?

You can keep up with "Caturdays" at the Centre County Library by following them on Facebook and Instagram.

Also, be sure to support your local library any chance you get. You can volunteer, donate books or, if you really want to make a difference, you can get involved in local politics to make sure these institutions are getting the funding they need. Check out the American Library Association (ALA) for more information.

Let's #StartSomethingGood together!

The Conversation
More stories you may love

How Saving A Church Is Saving Lives Too

A couple bought an abandoned church and turned it into a community center. What they've created is so much bigger.

They're Saluting Our Veterans Every Day of the Year

Meet the Pittsburghers who are making sure our returning vets have jobs, homes and food, and find out how you can help.

How Goats And The Volunteers Who Love Them Are Saving A Popular Park

They're keeping invasive plants from taking over Pittsburgh's Frick Park by doing what comes naturally. For the goats at least!

Our Mission
Have you ever felt like there's just too much bad news? Ever felt like the world is hopeless, and you're helpless to do anything about it? We did too. That's why we created Sparkt™.
At Sparkt™, we tell powerful stories about great people making a difference in their communities, and we show you how you can make a difference too. Join us, and together, let's #StartSomethingGood!
Sparkt Newsletter
Get positive, uplifting stories in your inbox
Follow Us on Social Media
Download the Mobile App
Sparkt™ is a Rabble Holdings, Inc. Media Brand. © 2020 Rabble Holdings, Inc. All Rights Reserved.