Library Accepts Cat Pictures for Outstanding Fees

In a heartwarming display of creativity and compassion, the Worcester Public Library in Massachusetts has introduced an innovative solution to address overdue fines: cat pictures. Launching the "March Meowness" campaign, this initiative not only aims to alleviate outstanding fees but also fosters a sense of community engagement, inclusivity and shared feline admiration among book lovers.

March Meowness

Embracing the spirit of the program, library patrons are encouraged to swap traditional monetary payments for a simple yet delightful alternative—a photo or drawing of a cat. Executive Director Jason Homer extends a warm invitation to all, regardless of feline companionship status. "Even if you don't have a cat in your life, you can still draw one," Mr. Homer expressed to NBC Boston, highlighting the inclusive nature of the initiative. From domestic cats to majestic big cats like tigers and lions, all submissions are welcomed with open arms.

A photo reminder about the March Meowness from Worcester Public Library
Photo Credit: Worcester Public Library

The Goal for Cat Pictures

The library's official website echoes this sentiment, emphasizing the goal of fostering a welcoming environment for all library users. "We want you back at the library, so we are offering one month of fee forgiveness for lost or damaged items from the Worcester Public Library! Show us a picture of your cat, a famous cat, a picture you drew of a cat, a shelter cat—any cat—and we will forgive WPL fees on your library account," the site declares. Recognizing that accidents happen and fees can sometimes hinder access to library resources, the library hopes to extend a gesture of goodwill and understanding through this unique initiative.

Different photos of cats during the March Meowness campaign.
Photo Credit: Worcester Public Library

Why March Meowness?

The inspiration behind "March Meowness" stems from a noticeable increase in overdue fines among young patrons, a trend exacerbated by the challenges posed by the ongoing pandemic. However, what started as a simple solution to address financial barriers quickly blossomed into something much more profound. Within just the first five days of its launch, the program had already cleared over 400 accounts, underscoring its immediate impact and resonance within the community.

While the program's title may suggest an exclusive focus on cats, the Worcester Public Library embraces a broader definition of "feline friends." According to their website, they gladly accept submissions of "honorary cats," including pictures or drawings of dogs, raccoons, whales, or any other beloved animal. This inclusive approach reflects the library's commitment to celebrating diversity and accommodating the unique preferences and circumstances of its patrons.

In essence, "March Meowness" transcends the realm of library fines, serving as a testament to the power of creativity, compassion, and community spirit. Through a simple yet meaningful gesture, the Worcester Public Library not only alleviates financial burdens but also reaffirms its role as a cornerstone of the community—a place where everyone is welcome, regardless of their ability to pay. As patrons flock to share their beloved feline companions or imaginative renditions thereof, the library continues to serve as a beacon of hope, connection, and joy in uncertain times.

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