Kitty Café Revisited
Two years ago I first shared with y’all our Kitty Café event. Now that we’ve had our third annual event, it’s time to revisit this program and share updates.
Here’s this year’s video:
- It is still my favorite event of the year. It helps that I’m a cat person. If you’re not a cat person, then your mileage may vary.
- Attendance numbers! I totally forgot to share this in my original post! Actually, if anyone shows up it’s a success because even if it’s just one person, then we have a chance to create a wonderful memory for him/her/them. But I digress.
2015 = 142 people
2016 = 80
2017 = 177!!!
- This year we finally hit on a room configuration that works. We removed hiding spots, and the Nebraska Humane Society (NEHS) workers set up a corner corral. Once a kitten entered that caged area, it became their safe space. It’s also the location of the litter, food, and carriers.
- We didn’t use café tables like we had in 2016, and even removed most of the chairs around the room. We kept maybe ten up around the periphery. This was perfect for our elderly visitors and provided a place for coats. Having the chairs around the periphery also freed up room for people to form circles on the floor. This allowed us to make sure every group had “kitten time,” and easily move the kittens from group to group.
- Even with the air on, there were so many people in the room that it was on the warm side. We’ll turn it down much lower before the start of any future Kitty Café’s.
- For the first time this year, we had to make people wait to enter the “kitten zone” until people left. Thankfully, wait time was less than ten minutes, and for around a dozen people.
- We’ve made it clear that you cannot leave with a kitten, and we haven’t received a single complaint.
- A connection was finally made with our local coffee shop, and they provided the coffee. We both pay for it, and do the entire setup. ::Marge Simpson sound of disapproval::
- One parent complained that we didn’t have non-coffee drinks available. We’ll take that into serious consideration for next year and discuss it as a team. I have a feeling we might advertise that you can bring your own lidded drinks.
- I decided to gussy up the décor this year. After all, this was the first time many of our guests were visiting our library; I wanted to convey what a special place they’d come to. I created a new ledger-sized sign to both welcome and say goodbye to our visitors. Right-click on each image below to save it for your own use:
- A few more cat pictures were taped around the open sign to give it more oomph.
- I printed/cut out large cat heads to sprinkle around our meeting room’s walls. Not only were they were cute, but they hid a myriad of wall damage. I printed and cut out the words Meow! Meow! Meow! and Kitty Café to post in the room. I thought that this would provide fun backgrounds for photos/videos. Next year we’ll definitely add Gretna Public Library to the Kitty Café sign because, well, branding.
- And now to my favorite décor: floating kitties in coffee cups!!!!! Squee!!!!!
First, I made a dozen of these images that feature the logos for the NEHS, the coffee shop, our library. I also created one with the statement ❤️Your Library. Next, we printed out the front/back images onto cardstock and then spent an hour cutting, cutting, and more cutting. We then took string and glue (I recommend Aileen’s Turbo Tacky Glue), and sandwiched the string between the two cutouts. Finally, we hung them up in our entryway so that it immediately set the tone for the event (i.e. that it’s going to be awesome).
And after it was over, we gave the NEHS workers their choice of these kitties-in-cups. They couldn’t wait to hang them up at the shelter (bonus advertising for all!!!).
I bet you’re like “Oh how I wish that I could have kittens in to-go coffee cups at our Kitty Café event.”
::wistfully looks out window::
Do I have great news for you: you can have your own kittens in to-go coffee cups at your Kitty Café event! I’ve created two dozen images that you can add your own logos to!!! Click on the image below to get a zip file full of kitten cuteness in jpeg form:
Know that I’d love to hear from you if you have any questions or would like to share your experience of having your own Kitty Café!
Finally, I’ll leave you with our 2016 Kitty Café video:
- In 2018, the event was another success with around 100 people attending. We kept pretty much everything the same.
- Our Adult Librarian brought in store-bought cookies to add to the café aspect. I feel like this is totally optional.
- We did not add caffeine-free options, and we haven’t received another request.
- We didn’t have time to decorate beyond some cat heads, and the various logos that I’d planned to include.
- The 2018 café wasn’t videotaped. For me 2018 was a horrible blur of exhaustion, and I had to be extremely careful with what I spent my energy on – and most of that was customer service and keeping our library going.
- It is so unreal that 2019 was our fifth annual Kitty Café.
- This was our least successful one with around 60 attendees.
– Gasp – But why?!?!
The Nebraska Humane Society asked if we could bump it up a month since they were overwhelmed with kittens. That’s all. Because we had made it a celebrated November celebration, that’s when people knew to look for it on our calendar. They didn’t expect it to happen in October. And it felt terrible when less people showed up, and only one kitten found a forever home.
What was even worse was when people reached out to us in November asking about when our event would be.
::heartbreaking trombone wah-wah::
Lesson learned: if and when the Kitty Café returns, it will be in November.
- Because it wasn’t as busy, I was finally able to play with the kittens and get some great footage, which you can check out below:
- This continues to bring me pride anytime I mention my library’s name and someone says, “That’s the Kitty Café library!”
::internal happy dance::
- This is another program that I’ve been grieving the loss of. I have no idea whether or not this will return, or in what form. I’m trying to remain optimistic that NEHS and we will figure out how to keep the Kitty Café’s spirit going.
- I have received several emails from librarians across the country sharing their own Kitty Café programs and and photos!!!! Those emails mean the world to me. Thank you to all who have taken time to reach out and share your experience.
Feel free to reach out to me again in regards to any aspect of this event, or if you’ve held your own and want to share. I’ll be happy to hear from you!