When reports that better clothing stores and hotels in the USA found themselves in the embarrassing position of acknowledging that they had indeed been infested, other organizations and institutions, including our libraries, have been on the alert ever since for similar evidence of such infestations.
In recent months, there has been more and more evidence that this heightened awareness was needed as verification of the infestations in libraries, and other public spaces has increased. In many instances, warnings to the public are quickly followed by pleas for help from experts to stop the spread of these insects.
Quite often, these bloodsuckers hitch a ride into the library inside the pages, or the spines, of our books. Then, onto the shelves they go, ready to be circulated to the next unknowing patron who will transport them back to their homes, thus fuelling the expansion of this infestation even further, and perhaps even leading to the stigmatization of those libraries with an unclean and careless image.
The extermination company Terminix has ranked the top bedbug-infested cities in the US.
The top-ranked cities are:
Experts agree that there are a number of precautions we can take so as not to carry on lengthy relationships with them and to protect ourselves against these pests and as result, perhaps not carry them back to our libraries in the books we borrow.
So, eradicating these insects or their eggs from continually being borrowed and returned to the library along with the books we lend is a dual responsibility. Precautions such as those outlined can help eliminate them for the renter or homeowner. Short of that, of course, self-eradication procedures may simply not be as effective as they might prove to be, thus causing both libraries and individuals to engage a professional extermination company to perform their magic.
From the library perspective, any sign of bedbugs must be attended to immediately so that the infestation does not spread further. There are two proven and effective measures that can be undertaken by a library to address this issue exposing the books to extreme heat or extreme cold, but placing the staff at risk should always be a consideration when attempting a self-eradication in a library as well. Therefore, engaging a professional exterminator at the first visible sign of bedbug infestation should always be seen as a potential solution.
Fiore, M. (2010), "Top 15 bedbug-infested cities in US", Aol Health, available at: www.aolhealth.com/2010/08/24/extermination-company-ranks-top-15-bedbug-infested-cities/ (accessed 23 December 2010).
Miguelez, G. (2010), "Bedbugs prevention tactics", Suite101.com, available at: www.suite101.com/content/bed-bugs–prevention-tactics-a276840 (accessed 23 December 2010).
This is a shortened version of "Bedbugs in our US libraries", which originally appeared in New Library World, Volume 112 Number 7/8, 2011, pp. 377-381.
The authors are Bruce E. Massis and Angel Gondek both of Columbus State Community College Educational Resources Center, Columbus, Ohio, USA.