As bedbugs continue their horrific invasion of the United States, they've found a new way of spreading: public libraries.
People read in bed, so if someone's got a bedbug problem, it's not surprising that one or two of the critters could hitch a ride in a borrowed book and end up in the library or the next borrower's home. Libraries in New York, Denver and Cincinnati have all found the vermin in books, causing community panic.
Barb Dimick, Madison's library director, says a few bugs were found in a book about five years ago in the basement of the central library, and a fumigation ensued. Since then, no bedbugs have been sighted.
But Dimick is still plenty concerned, saying a bedbug outbreak would be devastating. "We would have to take drastic measures," she says. "I don't know what it would mean, but we'd have to do whatever we could. If we found them, we'd have to go through everything in our collection. It would be terrible. It'd be really expensive, and we might have to [temporarily] close down."