Tue. Nov 28th, 2023
    Libraries Go Beyond Books: Check Out a Robotic Cat

    Libraries have long been cherished institutions that lend more than just books. In the case of the Eugene Public Library, patrons are now able to borrow an array of unconventional items ranging from kitchen equipment to recreational games. However, one particularly unique addition has captured the attention of the community: robotic cats.

    Kate Berry, an adult services supervisor at the Eugene Public Library, explained that these robotic cats were introduced to provide companionship and comfort to individuals experiencing loneliness or memory loss. Affectionately named Bandit, Mr. Pickles, and Percival, the cats are black and white with green eyes, and they purr and meow just like their real-life counterparts.

    While the primary purpose of the robotic cats is to offer solace to those in need, anyone is welcome to check them out. Heather Sears, a children’s services supervisor, highlighted the therapeutic benefits of cats purring, noting that the library staff themselves found solace in the presence of the cats.

    The Library of Things initiative at the Eugene Public Library encompasses these robotic cats, along with an extensive collection of diverse items that extend beyond the traditional spectrum of library offerings. From musical instruments like ukuleles, keyboards, and guitars to educational toys, the library strives to cater to a wide range of interests.

    Managing the Library of Things collection comes with its own set of challenges. Staff members like Sears emphasize the importance of caring for each item and ensuring all the necessary instructions are provided. Additionally, logistics come into play, especially when dealing with larger items like lawn toys and games.

    Despite these challenges, the Library of Things has proven to be immensely popular among library patrons. The demand for items often exceeds the library’s capacity to process and lend them out. The program has become a staple of the Eugene Public Library, thanks to the initial funding provided by the Eugene Public Library Foundation.

    If you’re in the mood for a cozy cuddle with a feline companion, consider borrowing Bandit, Mr. Pickles, or Percival. These robotic cats are designed to be brushed, sat on laps, and spoken to as if they were real cats, offering both entertainment and companionship during those rainy reading days.


    1. Can anyone check out the robotic cats from the library?

    Yes, while the robotic cats are primarily intended for individuals experiencing loneliness or memory loss, they can be checked out by anyone.

    2. How can the presence of the robotic cats provide therapeutic benefits?

    Research suggests that cats’ purring has a calming and therapeutic effect on individuals. The robotic cats aim to replicate this experience for those seeking comfort or stress relief.

    3. What other items can be borrowed from the Library of Things?

    The Library of Things offers an extensive range of items, including musical instruments like ukuleles, keyboards, and guitars, along with educational toys and games. The collection aims to cater to diverse interests beyond traditional library offerings.

    4. Are there any challenges associated with managing the Library of Things?

    Logistics and care considerations are major challenges when managing the Library of Things collection. Large items, in particular, require special attention, and ensuring instructions are provided for each item can be time-consuming.

    5. How popular is the Library of Things program?

    The program has been extremely popular among library patrons, with high demand for items. However, due to processing limitations, the library can only lend out a certain number of items each month.