They’re small and really tough to see. But they’re a big problem.
“One is too many,” said Patricia Eastman of the Toronto Public Library (TPL).
Bed bugs were reported at the Cedarbrae and Kennedy-Eglinton libraries in the last month. According to Eastman, area manager for both locations, the TPL system takes all reported incidents seriously.
“We are on top of it and it is really important to us,” she said.
The TPL budgets $151,000 yearly to deal with the bed bug problem and has instituted a bedbug protocol. It includes quarterly inspections, carpet and upholstery shampooing, along with daily cleaning.
If a staff member identifies bed bugs when an item is returned or shelved, the item is bagged and given to facilities within 24 hours. Inspection, cleaning and chemical treatment by a professional pest control company follows.
In 2012, 22 confirmed bed bug incidents were reported in the library system across the city, Eastman said. Also in 2012, the TPL had 19 million visitors accessing 33 million items.
“I have never seen any bugs,” said Rishabh Passwala, who has been studying daily for his financial analyst accreditation at the Cedarbrae branch. “I don’t have any problem with the bugs.”
Some are more concerned.
“It is quite alarming to know there is a problem like that and I didn’t really know there is one,” said Olive Asuncion, who was at the Cedarbrae branch studying for her life insurance licence.
Asuncion had experienced bed bugs in the Philippines, where she grew up.
“I don’t think I am going to come back here with the kids,” she said.
Library staff is encouraging visitors to inform them if they have bed bugs in their homes and to not use the drop-off chutes if that is the case.