WOKQ | by Chio Acosta | October 28, 2019
Bed Bugs in Books, YIKES, Hampton Library May Ban Users. What’s a librarian to do? Well, first they disinfect and make sure the pests do not spread, then the books are discarded and a pest control agency is brought in to determine that the library is safe, but the broader question is how do they stop it from happening. Seacoastonline reports on the issue that all libraries are facing and the steps the Hampton Library is taking to prevent the problem.
While bed bugs are not known to carry disease, they are creepy crawlies that leave bed bug poop everywhere, have an annoying little bite that looks like a rash and can trigger severe allergies. None of those are good things. Amanda Reynolds Cooper, the Lane Memorial Library director, says the library trustees will now be given a policy to approve that would require those that return books with bed bugs to obtain documentation that their homes are safe and bed bug-free before gaining admittance to the library. This seems like a commonsense procedure but there are a lot of issues in play with this proposed policy.
Libraries are open to the public for good reasons and it’s a First Amendment issue to deny someone access. Many people use the library for research into job opportunities, research into healthcare issues and these community hubs are not just for the storage of ideas. Free public access makes libraries a safe space for learning. What if you are homeless and looking for resources? How can you claim your living space is “pest-free?” It will be interesting to see how this debate plays out if the policy is approved. Stay tuned, the trustees will meet to approve or not allow the policy on November 13 per reporting from seacoastonline.