Throughout Carroll Hall, posters are scattered with a stuffed pig and arrows pointing toward the Park Library. That pig is Rory, the library’s official mascot and a treasure of the Hussman School of Journalism and Media.
“She’s a cute little companion to have while I’m studying and getting work done,” said Safa Tonuzi, a sophomore studying advertising and public relations — and one of Rory’s many fans.
Rory moves around, but students can usually find her sitting on the front desk, often wearing a themed outfit or accessory. Her wardrobe is a white and blue friendship bracelet, sometimes complemented with matching Carolina blue bows on her ears.
Stephanie Brown, the director of the Park Library, chose Rory as a mascot after seeing the Sloane Art Library’s own stuffed representative on Instagram: Joey the Lobster.
“My staff and I decided that it would be fun to have also a mascot,” Brown said. “And so we were just kind of looking around. I was looking around my office, and I thought 'Oh, look at this,' and we called her Rory.”
One of the newer employees at Park Library, junior communications major Duncan Macmillan, expressed his appreciation for Rory’s contributions to the workplace environment.
“I just started working here last week, and I think it’s really nice to have a little mascot for the library," he said. "It’s a fun thing!”
The general consensus of everyone who knows Rory: they love her.
“People love Rory,” Brown said. “We’ve talked to our student employees and they say that working with Rory is one of the best things about working in the Park Library.”
Rory has themed posts and outfits, which the students make themselves. Past outfits have included a Michael Jordan jersey, an Uncle Sam hat, and a Ruth Bader Ginsburg robe and bib.
“She’s looking for a new dressmaker,” Brown said. “We have some students who are trying to figure out what she should look like.”
Joey the Lobster, the Sloane Art Library’s mascot and Rory's inspiration, has a similarly adorable effect and origin story.
Years ago, a student left a stuffed lobster named Larry in the library, Alice Whiteside, head of the Sloane Art Library, said. The staff had so much fun with him while they waited for his owner to return that they decided to adopt their own lobster.
“That inspired us to adopt Joey, Larry’s cousin who heard about Larry’s fun time at the library and decided to come and stay here," Whiteside said.
Joey prefers they/them pronouns and sports a mask and rainbow pin, with a wall of portraits drawn by their fans behind the front desk. They also sit next to a mini-book with them on the cover.
“They’ve been really an amazing member of our staff,” Whiteside said. “They’re a star on our Instagram — they help greet people at the front desk. We love Joey.”
There have been collaborations between the two rising influencers. Rory and Joey met in a photoshoot when the Park Library first chose Rory, and in 2019, they came together to celebrate National Lobster Day by exchanging gifts and coloring.
“I think it’s something we did because it's fun for us, but it's also a way for us to show students we have a sillier side,” Whiteside said. “And who doesn’t love a cuddly lobster?”
To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.