Bed bugs found in books in New Westminster, BC public library

by nobugsonme on October 26, 2011 · 3 comments

in bed bugs, british columbia, libraries

I know, I know: yet another bed-bugs-in-the-library story. But libraries are the new theaters, as far as bed bugs are concerned.

This latest bed-bugs-in-the-library story is interesting: the bed bugs found in New Westminster’s public library were hanging out in multiple shelved books in two adjacent areas of the library.

The Royal City Record reports,

As a precaution, the library was closed for the day on Tuesday, while staff met with a pest control company to map out a strategy to deal with the problem.

“We are very pleased to report that as a result of quick action by library staff and the work of pest control personnel, including the use of a bedbug sniffing dog and handler, New Westminster Public Library is able to open at noon today,” said chief librarian Julie Spurrell.

After hearing about reports of bedbugs in the Burnaby Public Library system, New Westminster Public Library Staff have done regular checks of the collection for the presence of bedbugs.

The areas where the bed bugs were found were treated with steam. It’s not clear if the books themselves were disposed of or treated somehow.

Burnaby’s public library system had genre fiction-loving bed bugs in the thriller-mystery section of its Metrotown main branch at the end of September, and more bugs surfaced in Burnaby’s Cameron Street branch last week.

Intriguing side note from the Cameron Street Story (which appeared in the Vancouver Sun):

Public libraries in Vancouver haven’t experienced any similar infestations. “It’s not an issue,” said Jean Kavanagh, a spokeswoman for the Vancouver Public Library.

Oh just you wait, Vancouver.  Señor Chinche has heard your challenge!

This article points out that New Westminster’s librarians started looking for bed bugs after they heard about Burnaby’s problems.

Well done, New Westminster!  Look and, eventually, ye shall find.

Seriously, librarians everywhere would do well to take note of New Westminster’s example: you should start looking for bedbugs before a patron or employee stumbles upon them.

It’s interesting also that the bed bugs in both New Westminster and Burnaby were found in the books on shelves. The bed bugs of British Columbia are a highly literate bunch.

In other recent library cases, bed bugs were found in upholstered chairs, computer chairs, computer rooms, magazine areas, book returns, and back rooms or library offices.

According to The Record, New Westminster plans to continue inspecting for bedbugs going forward.  But another Record story notes that New Westminster Councillor Jaimie McEvoy is pushing for more: with his experience of  how local social service agencies try and prevent the spread of bedbugs, he is apparently encouraging the libraries in the city to cut down on fabrics (e.g. upholstered chairs), and routinely check returned books, in addition to continuing inspections.  McEvoy is also pushing local health authority Fraser Health to begin a bed bug task force.

1 BooksNotBugs October 27, 2011 at 11:55 am
2 NotSoSnug October 27, 2011 at 10:32 pm

..and now the Mt Pleasant Branch in Vancouver BC proper has live bedbugs, where the staff are apparently throwing the books out. So it’s worth reminding folks about the protocols for books, from UNESCO:

” If a localized, limited infestation is found in a library, isolate the infested books and subject them to a heat treatment. By placing the books in a standard oven at the lowest temperature possible (130° F for 3 hours) and placing wet newspaper or a pan of water in the bottom of the oven to maintain humidity inside the oven chamber, all stages of this insect, and in fact any insect, will be killed. ”

I treated my entire library and office paperwork this way using an electric oven that happily went that low, during an infestation and had no problems afterward, with book bindings or bedbugs.

The paper and books were in the same room as the harbourage, within 10′ but I didn’t find a bug when I was preparing the papers for the oven. I would say a visual inspection isn’t going to find much unless you go through every page right to the backbone and shine lights into the bindings.

I guess this a good case for buying a PackTite.

3 nobugsonme November 10, 2011 at 3:45 am

Hi NotSoSnug!

Thanks for the reminder. Not to discount your experience, but books in an oven is a scary thought for me — some people might not be as careful, and we’ve heard of people trying this with hotter ovens (danger!)

The Packtite is a great option for those who can afford it. And now, in Canada also.

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