Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Columbia Public Library reopens after being declared flea-free

  Mohd Shubhi       Tuesday, August 18, 2015
It took three treatments, more than two days and a lot of patience, but the Columbia Public Library has finally bid farewell to a pesky pest problem that kept the building’s doors shut for days.

Saturday morning, patrons were able to come back in to the library at 100 W. Broadway for the first time in days. Wednesday afternoon, the library announced it was temporarily closing thanks to a flea infestation.

Although library staff hoped they could reopen Friday, the flea problem proved more stubborn than they originally thought, and exterminators needed extra time to get rid of the pests.

After exterminators applied a third round of treatment, they finally deemed the library flea-free. Saturday afternoon, Robert Kazmierczak sat on one of the library’s cushy chairs on the first floor.

He and his wife usually make trips to the library on Wednesdays and Saturdays to check out books, but this week they had to skip their midweek trip. “Obviously you don’t want to expose the public to a pest problem,” he said.

“They did what they had to do.” Library spokeswoman Mitzi St. John said library management does not know what caused the infestation. Although the library has recently hosted several

“Reading to Rover” events, during which children spend time reading to licensed therapy dogs, St. John said the library contacted the people in charge of that program and confirmed that none of those animals had fleas. The exterminator was also not able to pinpoint the source of the infestation.

“We don’t know how they got into the building, and since they haven’t gotten into the building before, it’s hard to know what to do differently,” she said. 

Orkin Pest Control, which donated its flea-removal service to the library, had to work carefully not to damage the books and to use chemicals that are safe for a highly trafficked public area, St. John said.

Instead of fumigating the building, Orkin applied a treatment to the carpet and upholstered furniture. St. John said the library will keep checking to make sure there are no more problems in the future, but added she did not expect any.


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