Many people were surprised to find the Minot-Sleeper Library closed last Friday afternoon with a note on the door that apologized for the sudden closure, but stated it was due to a need to give the building a "deep cleaning." (Photo by Donna Rhodes) (click for larger version)
May 16, 2018BRISTOL — Many people were surprised to find the Minot-Sleeper Library closed last Friday afternoon with a note on the door that apologized for the sudden closure, but stated it was due to a need to give the building a "deep cleaning." The building remained closed over the weekend, and the Board of Trustees disclosed on Monday, May 14, that the measure was taken when some items returned to the library were contaminated with what was determined to be bedbugs.
The suspect materials were dropped off in plastic bags on Wednesday, May 9, and staff on duty that day found them to be in poor condition. Rather than place the items back out for circulation, they set the bags aside to await the return of Library Director Brittany Overton, who was due back on Friday. Overton and the staff then took a closer look at the materials and believed there was evidence of insects inside. She immediately contacted Nancy Dowey, Vice Chair of the Board of Trustees, to alert her to the situation and the decision was made to close the library and contact an exterminator.
On Saturday, experts confirmed that it was bedbugs found in the materials.
Assured by the exterminator and health officials that there was no real threat to the public, trustees and staff discarded everything in the bag and began to check their records for prior materials signed out by that same patron. Those items were examined and removed. Overton also began contacting anyone found to have recently borrowed any of the books or DVDs that had been returned from the contaminant source, advising them to place those items in plastic bags and throw them away.
"We have been told there is very little threat that the items borrowed by other patrons will cause dramatic spread of the bugs, but we felt it was important for these patrons to be aware," library trustees wrote in a letter to Salmon Press [the full letter can be found on page A6].
They are now working with town and state public health officials to develop a protocol that can be enacted should something similar ever occur in the future.
"We have not yet determined how the (destroyed) materials will be replaced, but our intention is to rebuild the collection as soon as possible," the trustees said.
On May 15, the facility's Facebook page updated the public on the situation by stating the library will remain closed until further notice. The book drop outside the main entrance has also been closed but those who borrowed any materials prior to the library closure are being assured there are no late charges being incurred on those items.