KALAMAZOO, Mich.–The closed sign has been on for several days at Kalamazoo Public Library’s Washington Square Branch, located at 1244 Portage St, after an itchy incident.
On Friday, library workers found bed bugs inside several of the books in the return drop box, hiding in the bindings and pages
“We have a process in place where the books are immediately quarantined and placed in plastic bags and immediately disposed of,” said Farrell Howe, Marketing and Communications Manager for Kalamazoo Public Library.
The branch was then shut down as a precaution.
“In terms of it contaminating the rest of the library, we are pretty confident the building is clear,” said Howe.
The library staff is trained to spot bed bugs and know what to do, part of a standard procedure that began in the fall after bed bug infestations became more prevalent across the country and in Southwest Michigan.
“Bed bugs are night feeders, people tend to go to bed with their books, so they lay down and they will have the book next to their bed and during the day they go and hide, ” said Howe.
To make sure the branch is free of the tiny hitchhikers, the library is bringing in Kalamazoo-based Griffin Pest Solutions on Tuesday for an inspection and will be using a bed-bug sniffing canine that is trained to find the pests.
If there is a contaminated, the problem will likely be treated with heat.
“We hope it doesn’t come to that, but if that’s what we have to do, that’s what we have to do,” Howe said.
If they get the all clear, the library branch plans to re-open at its regular time at 1 p.m. on Tuesday.
Anyone who may have checked out books that could have been contaminated is being contacted by the library.