Streator Public Library temporarily served as a cat's cradle this week.
And no, it has nothing to do with the Kurt Vonnegut book "Cat's Cradle."
Instead, the library staff cared for three kittens for several hours Thursday.
Staff members reported on the library's Facebook page Thursday afternoon that someone abandoned the kittens inside the building. The social media post asked the community to help the library staff find homes for the trio.
The Facebook post was shared 136 times. By 5:30 p.m., the library succeeded in finding homes for all three kittens – two went the same household.
One Facebook commenter suggested the library should keep at least one of the kittens as a library cat.
A 2016 survey of U.S. libraries by filmmaker Gary Roma, creator of the documentary "Puss in Books: Adventures of the Library Cat," found about 40 districts nationwide have a resident library cat. That's down from nearly 200 when Roma made his 1997 documentary.
A 2016 Chicago Tribune report says Illinois is home to just one: Stacks the Library Cat at Litchfield Public Library, about 45 miles straight south of Springfield.
American Libraries magazine shares a simple reason why library cats are on the decline: allergies.
Up to 20 percent of U.S. residents have dog and/or cat allergies, says the National Center for Biotechnology Information.
"Allergy to dogs and cats has long been considered a major risk factor in the development of allergic rhinitis and asthma," the NCBI states in a report released in February.
Streator Public Library officials said on Facebook the library is not equipped to house cats. Patrons should not leave animals in the library.
Individuals seeking to rehome pets can contact the following animal shelters:
• Pet Project, 676 E. 2575th Road, Marseilles, 815-795-9663, email@example.com. (Listed as a no-kill shelter.)
• Just Animals, Mazon, 815-448-2510, firstname.lastname@example.org. (Listed as a no-kill shelter.)
• Illinois Valley Animal Rescue, Industrial Drive, La Salle, 815-224-0061, email@example.com.