Patrons may be checking out more than just a book the next time they visit the Buena Vista Branch Library in Burbank.
During a Burbank City Council meeting on Tuesday, Elizabeth Goldman, the city's library services director, told council members that bed bugs have been found in the city's newest library on North Buena Vista Street.
There were a few sites around the library — primarily in the main reading area, known as the "Castle" in the children's library, and in staff offices — where the little insects were found, Goldman said in a phone interview on Wednesday.
She said that workers from the Burbank Public Works Department have been at the library since May trying to eradicate the tiny bugs from the library, but they continue to come back.
"They've tried various techniques, various kinds of sprays and deep cleans, but they're just really hard to get rid of because they could be hiding in books, the carpet or in the [seat] cushions," Goldman said. "That branch is extremely busy, so there's always warm, welcoming hosts for the bugs sitting in all the chairs."
Finding bed bugs in a library is not an uncommon problem. Goldman said she has been talking with officials from the Los Angeles city and county libraries who have also had to deal with bed bugs at their branches.
Goldman, who has been the head of the Burbank Public Library system since 2016, said she does not know exactly how the bed bugs arrived at the Buena Vista branch, but they were first found last fall after a library employee reported getting several bug bites after sitting in a chair in the staff area.
That piece of furniture was treated, then later discarded and replaced. At that point, Goldman and her staff thought their run-in with bed bugs was over.
"All was well for about six months, but then, in May, a patron who was sitting in one of our comfy brown chairs had a very strong reaction to some bug bites," Goldman said.
Though the Public Works Department has been trying to get rid of the bugs, Goldman said the insects are still hanging around.
It has gotten to the point where she has had to hire a bed-bug-sniffing dog service to find out where the insects are hiding. Goldman said library officials will continue to use the canines to search the library until the bugs are gone.
There have been no other reported cases of patrons or staff members being bitten, but Goldman said that she and her staff are doing their best to stamp out the bed bugs from the library.
"I've been reassuring the staff that we are working really actively on taking care of it, and that we're going to learn more and do better in the future and make sure that things don't drag on for an extended period of time," she said.