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    On March 2, 2018 we conducted an inspection of the Main Library to search for bedbugs after return of materials showing evidence of exposure. To protect public and staff health and safety and to safeguard the collection, we engaged a trained canine pest management team to inspect the Main Library and all of its contents. The canine inspection was completed this morning before opening to the public. The dogs inspected all public and staff areas all seating areas, computers and the entire collection were included. There was minimal exposure discovered. The dogs re-inspected the area and found no further exposure. The City’s pest management experts advised us that no additional work is needed and to install monitors in the near future.

    On March 23, 2018, all four branch locations were inspected with zero findings. The branches, along with the Main Library, will be monitored in the future.

    Are there bed bugs in libraries?

    Libraries are one of the spots where bed bug infestation can take place.  17% of all pest management professionals worked with libraries in 2014, up from 12% reported in 2013.

    At the Santa Monica Public Library, there have been some returned Library materials showing signs of bed bugs. These materials have been isolated, quarantined and treated. As a precaution, the Main and the branch libraries will undergo a complete inspection by a specially trained dog on Friday, March 2, 2018. The trained dog tracks bed bug pheromones –exuded by all live bed bugs – leading to a 90% + accuracy rate in detecting bed bugs. The dog indicates there is an issue by sitting or pawing at the shelf with the problem or by standing on their hind legs to indicate a problem on a higher shelf. The initial inspection will be conducted during closed hours.  Results of the inspections will be communicated widely and a set of treatments will take place as needed. 

    The following information will be helpful in understanding the situation:

    • Bed bugs can be everywhere, particularly public shared spaces.
      (National Pest Management Association,
    • Bed bugs do not carry or transmit diseases. Extensive research has been done on this, and there is no evidence that bed bugs transmit diseases from one host to the next.
      (Centers for Disease Control,
    • Bed bugs are a nuisance, but are not dangerous. While some people react more strongly to insect bites than others, a bed bug bite will cause no more than minor itching for a few days.
      (Centers for Disease Control,

    Bed bugs are reddish-brown in color and can often leave excrement in the form of small, dark spots. If you suspect your Santa Monica Public Library materials are carrying bed bugs, the following procedures are recommended:

    • Handle the material with gloves, if possible
    • Place the material in a sealable bag
    • Report and return the material to a library staff member

    The Santa Monica Public Library staff are receiving additional training to identify bed bugs and to ensure fast containment and treatment for any future incidents.

    Additional resources:

    Centers for Disease Control website:

    US Environmental Protection Agency:

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