Some patrons of Palo Alto's public library are scratching themselves silly, after reports of bedbug sightings at a local branch have them worried they got a side dish of "parasite" when they checked out their books.
City officials say that a couple of the pernicious beasts were spotted on some chairs at the PAPL's Mitchell Park branch Wednesday, KPIX reports. As a precaution, that branch has been shuttered until at least Sunday, they say, while a pest control company comes in to deal with the critters.
The library has also deployed bedbug-sniffing dogs (which may or may not be effective) to other branches to make sure they aren't infested, as well.
Palo Alto city spokesperson Claudia Keith told ABC7 that library bedbug situations are pretty common, since "their books are circulated throughout a wide region. "
"There might be different ways that any kind of bed bugs may have come into the library. All of our other branches are open and so we'll be having dogs go in after we get Mitchell Park Library open to go in and sniff for bed bugs," Keith said.
Library patrons like Suzi Jackson, who spoke with KTVU, are far less sanguine, saying that when she heard the news, "My husband looked through all the books, then stacked everything up and then I brought them back here just in case."
"My scalp has been itchy all day thinking about it," she said, seemingly unaware that even if her books are bedbug free, she might still have scalp-itch-causing lice.
As anyone who watched the excellent show Difficult People knows bedbugs have been known to infest books, not just library ones. Here's a handy guide on how to spot book bed bugs, or like Billy and Julie, you can just go burn all your books in a barrel right now, just in case.