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Bedbugs infesting library books

Another reason to switch to eBooks!

There is a terrifying thread at Metafilter, about bedbugs in library books. I first learned about this problem a few years ago, but at the time it was "leading edge" enough that a lot of people dismissed my worries. I didn't care; I'm paranoid and broke, and I can hardly afford to fumigate or bake all my possessions or whatever. So my fear of bedbug infested library books is part of what drove me to a Kindle.

Sadly, my early research is turning out to have been prophetic. Bedbug infestations are hitting libraries hard across the country. It's such a bad problem that the Travel Channel has dubbed libraries one of the top 10 places to get a bedbug infestation.
 
A library may seem like an unlikely place to find a bedbug. But as with thrift stores, everything in a library was once in someone else's home. Many other someone's homes, actually. And where do many people read? In bed. The "stack of books on the bedside table" is practically a cliché.

It turns out that library books are an excellent place for bedbugs to hitchhike a ride. The bugs can hide in the binding, inside the spine, or inside the flaps of the book cover. Bedbugs like a nice thin wedge-shaped place to hide, and a hardcover library book provides many such places.
 
Another issue is with infected patrons themselves wandering into the library. Bedbugs often hitchhike around the city inside people's shoes, socks, hemlines, pants cuffs, and other little nooks and crannies. Not to mention the backpacks, briefcases, and purses that come from infested homes. Someone comes into the library, hangs out for a while, unwittingly drops a few bedbugs, and the next thing you know, the library is Ground Zero.
 
Once a bedbug hitches a ride into a library, it's all over. Libraries in Tulsa, OK and Wichita, KS have had to close temporarily in order to deal with their bedbug issue. Some experts believe that when it comes to bedbugs and libraries, it's not a matter of "if," it's a matter of "when."
 
Unfortunately, bedbug infestations come at a time when most libraries are struggling just to keep the lights on. Finding the funds to deal with a bedbug problem is a huge burden for most library systems, and I fear that many of them, if faced with an infestation, will simply have to shut down entirely.