Visitors to the Moscow Public Library may have noticed a small but fashionable (stuffed) rodent perched on the edge of the circulation desk. This is no ordinary rodent. This is Hamster, who’s been the official mascot and promoter for the library since 2015.
With style, flare and an incredible wealth of hand-knitted sweaters, Hamster is a library icon. A visit with Hamster is often the first stop patrons make upon entering the building. We’ve had the opportunity to view Hamster’s world from the outside, but never before has Hamster’s side of the story been shared. In this exclusive interview readers can get a glimpse into the life of this divine mammal.
Note: Hamster cannot talk, duh. But, being surrounded by so many books, this rodent does have the miraculous ability to write. I was refreshed by the responses in our interview, as well as fascinated by Hamster’s tiny pencil.
Rosemary: How did you stumble upon the Moscow Public Library?
Hamster: Some years ago I attended a library story time with a small human. When story time was over, I was left behind in all the excitement. The librarians put me on the circulation desk hoping I would be reclaimed, but no one ever came for me. One of the kind librarians knitted some mittens and a hat for me and, eventually, I came to feel at home.
R: What has kept you at the library instead of going back to live with family? (You have relatives in Scotland, right?)
H: I do indeed have many relatives all over the world. I love visiting mine, but the Moscow Library is my forever home. The librarians take good care of me, and I love my job as spokesrodent for the Latah County Library — it’s a very important calling. I have made many friends, and I especially love when the children come to visit. I can’t imagine my life anywhere else.
R: Living at the library has some great advantages: an unlimited supply of books, people, good conversation, and adoration from fans. Some of the librarians have even taken you on trips around the world. Tell me more about that.
H: I’ve been very fortunate to accompany my globetrotting friends and coworkers all over the world. I’ve been to all corners of the country. My global travels have taken me to Iceland, South Korea, Scotland, the U.K. and New Zealand. I’ve discovered that libraries are everywhere.
R: I notice you don’t live in a cage like most pet hamsters. How does living at the library work?
H: I’ve heard that some libraries employ a library cat. Fortunately, as I do not get along with those creatures, the Moscow Library does not. I am quite comfortable in my little corner of the circulation desk, where my friends keep me well-dressed and occupied promoting all the services the library provides.
R: What does an average day at the library look like for you?
H: I’m usually up early and take a brisk walk around the library to get some exercise and check to see that all is in order. When the library staff come in, it’s back on the desk, where I spend my day reading, sipping tea and greeting visitors. After the library closes, I take an evening stroll to make sure all is secure. Then it’s time for a snack and more reading before bed. On weekends, I can be found playing games with friends and planning my next adventure.
R: Being a hamster with such classy taste, how do you find clothes (and books) in your size?
H: Being shaped rather like a chubby potato, it can be hard to find cozy things to fit my voluptuousness. I am fortunate to have a local, private tailor who makes bespoke garments to my liking. Since most books are far too large for me to enjoy, I need scaled-down volumes. I have found a very reliable little publishing company that suits my needs quite comfortably. And they’re local as well. I am proud to support the local economy.
R: You live in an environment surrounded by books; what are you reading these days?
H: I’m halfway through “Hamnet” by Maggie O’Farrell. I must admit I picked it up because I thought it was about hamsters. Turns out the book is about William Shakespeare’s son, but I am riveted. I have recently enjoyed Jess Walter’s “Cold Millions.” Next up: the children’s book “Time Traveling With a Hamster” by Ross Welford.
R: You must see a lot of excitement and meet many new people at the circulation desk. Can you share one of your favorite memories?
H: A memorable event was the Harry Potter party; so many happy kids and so much fun. I love the kids who come to story time, and can’t wait until Miss Stacie can once again hold them in person.
R: What are you up to this month?
H: February is Library Lover’s month. Special birthdays include Charles Dickens, John Steinbeck and Judy Blume. February 9 is Read in The Bathtub Day, and I plan to celebrate in style, so watch for that.
Want to keep up with Hamster’s ponderings and library capers? Visit the Latah County Library Instagram and Facebook pages. Or visit the Moscow Public Library during open hours. Hamster loves attention.
Rosemary Anderson works with Hamster at the Moscow Library. You can learn more about Hamster at thelibraryhamster.tumblr.com/