The Levittown Public Library may soon have a celebrity on its hands.
Levi, a black and white cat with a big, round belly and a red striped hat, is the star of a new children’s book to be available at the library in the coming weeks. He is also a stuffed animal.
In the self-published book, “Let’s Go to the Library,” the small toy is photographed doing various tasks at the library like getting his library card, playing in the toy room and checking out books. The book is geared toward special needs children to teach them how to use the library.
“Especially with a special-needs child, it’s really important to learn the steps they’ll be taking in an unfamiliar environment,” said Geraldine Farmer-Morrison, head of children’s services.
The idea came from similar books published at other libraries, Farmer-Morrison said, and was originally to be published as an e-book. But library director Celeste Watman thought it would be nice to have something parents could physically pick up and read to their children; and children’s librarian Frances Contonzo thought of using Levi the stuffed animal as a character.
“We were following the model of another book but I thought it needed to be jazzed up,” said Contonzo, who took the photos for the book. “It makes the pictures more fun for the kids to see with him all dressed up and doing things in the library.”
Watman said the newly formed Levittown Public Library Foundation provided funding to publish the book. There will be 25 copies available in the next couple of weeks. She said the library also plans to publish a sequel, including another popular library toy, Dewey the Dachshund, to inform families about children’s programming.
Watman said another promotion allowing library patrons to borrow Dewey the Dachshund was a huge success, so she expects Levi to be a hit as well.
“Soon, we’ll have people coming here just to see Levi,” she said.