Bed Bugs: Frequently Asked Questions

The following are the most common questions the Kalamazoo Public Library has received regarding bed bugs being found in library books. If you have additional questions, please contact us.

1. I have books from the library, should I be concerned?

Bed Bugs are a community-wide issue that affects almost all public-access buildings including schools, hospitals, office buildings and more. It is incumbent on each of us to be diligent in minimizing personal risk by being observant and not place personal items such as jackets and bags on the floor or soft-surface furniture in public buildings. The Kalamazoo Public Library will continue to work to mitigate the issue of bedbugs in our locations to minimize patron contact. We recommend that if you are concerned about materials you have borrowed from the library that you keep them in a plastic, zip-top bag when not in use, and not place materials on or near bedding.

2. Will the library notify me if my books may have been affected?

Only in cases where the definitive source of the bed bug discovery is clear and confirmed, will the Kalamazoo Public Library notify the patron of the findings.

3. Will the library close if bed bugs are found?

The Kalamazoo Public Library will exact all due diligence to avoid the closing of a library location unless recommended by a qualified pest control company. Most treatments can be done for isolated areas without affecting services and can be performed during non-business hours.

4. How do I minimize my risk of exposure to bed bugs?

A library is not a conducive environment for bed bugs to thrive. They require a sleeping, human or animal host to feed from, and they will stay close to their food source. Without nourishment, bed bugs will not populate and spread. They are typically brought in to a library on people, on clothing, in bags, etc. All five locations of the Kalamazoo Public Library have a rule that bans patrons from bringing large bags, bed rolls, suitcases, blankets, large plastic bags and oversized back packs into the library. We recommend patrons not bring any large items with them and not set personal belongings (jackets and bags) on the floor or on furniture. If patrons are concerned about materials, keep them sealed in a plastic zip-top bag when not in use and do not place books on or near beds or bedding.

5. What if I find evidence that my library materials are affected by bed bugs?

  1. Immediately seal all library materials in a zip-top plastic bag and notify the location you borrowed from of the incident. You may return the materials to the library in zip-top bags and indicate upon return that you found evidence of bed bugs.
  2. Do NOT attempt to treat library materials on your own by placing them in the microwave or oven. There is a metal RFID tag in books that will spark and start a fire. Do not spray library materials with pesticides. You will be held responsible for any damages sustained by KPL materials during a self-treatment process.

6. What if I return materials that are found to contain bed bugs or evidence of bed bugs (example, live or dead bed bugs, larvae or signs of waste)?

Any materials returned by patrons that show definitive evidence of bed bugs will result in a patron's borrowing privileges being temporarily suspended. This suspension will be lifted when the patron can present proof that their residence has been treated by a licensed pest control company.