Library bedbugs: Growing threat to borrowers of paper books—and another justification for library e-books?

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bedbugNYT2“…tiny bedbugs and their eggs can hide in the spines of hardcover books. The bugs crawl out at night to feed, find a new home in a headboard, and soon readers are enjoying not only plot twists but post-bite welts.” – New York Times.

The LibraryCity take: No, this isn’t a suggestion to toss out all paper books. But the Times’ Catherine Saint Louis tells of bitten library users switching to bookstores. Of course, there’s the pesky little question of whether bedbugs will discover stores, not just libraries.

Luckily the bedbug threat is most likely still minor within most library systems—the 90-branch New York Public Library System reports fewer than 10 cases in the past two years. Also, librarians are taking aggressive countermeasures such as use of the bug-sniffing canines and PackTite.

But the problem is growing and potentially could accelerate the move of public libraries to e-books.

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