Brookwood Library's unofficial mascot has begun to travel the world

COURTESY PHOTO - Lemurs have become furry celebrities at the Brookwood Library in Hillsboro over the last two years, traveling with library staff on vacation, visiting other county libraries and popping up around the Brookwood library from time to time. The Brookwood Library has an animal problem.

It's not mice or bats, or gophers in the front lawn — Brookwood has an infestation of lemurs.

In July 2015, someone spotted an empty cardboard box in the back room with 'LEMURS' written on the top and posted a photo to the Hillsboro libraries' Twitter account.

"Stumbled across this upturned box in one of the back workrooms," the tweet read. "Why does this keep happening to us?!"

What followed is an odd love affair between the two Hillsboro libraries and a trio of stuffed animals, populating a cuddly Twitter hashtag, #Librarylemurs.

"(The photo) gave off the idea lemurs were loose in the library," Molly Brandt, Hillsboro Library's Volunteer Coordinator, said. "We got the idea of putting lemurs around the library to see them in different places and do something goofy. The last couple of months, they've gone on vacations with people and have started to travel around the world."

The lemurs toured Washington County last summer as part of Washington County Cooperative Library Services' 40th anniversary, along with mascots from other libraries — Pete the cat from Shute Park, Little Billie the Beaver from Beaverton, a mastodon from Tualatin, Al. B. Moose from Banks.

But recently, the lemurs' passports have picked up some exotic stamps: Australia, New Zealand, Hawaii. The lemurs are currently in Egypt, where they've visited the pyramids and taken a cruise on the Nile.

Brandt, who is the social media lead for the Hillsboro libraries, said Brookwood has considered adding lemurs to the Library of Things collection so patrons can take the local mascots on trips.

Mostly, though, the lemurs assist the Brookwood Library with promotions: panning for gold when the Library of Things added a panning kit, announcing closures for holidays and generally getting into mischief. The lemurs have been caught hiding in the freezer on warm summer days, blocking the book drop, lighting fireworks and often spy on librarians at work.

Most library mascots in the area make sense: a beaver in Beaverton and a tiger in Tigard. But what do lemurs have to do with Hillsboro? Nothing.

"There's no connection except for that first picture," Brandt said. "It's just about that box of escaped lemurs."

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