CHICAGO (STMW) — It wasn’t bookworms but an infestation of bedbugs that caused the Chicago Ridge Public Library to shut its doors for two days.
In a statement issued Thursday, the library said a “bedbug incident has been isolated and resolved.” The south suburban library, 10400 Oxford Ave., reopened Thursday morning after being closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
Before Thursday, library officials had declined to explain the closing, saying only via two signs posted on the front door and a posting on the library’s website that the library was closed “due to unforeseen circumstances.”
Library director Kathy McSwain was not in her office when a reporter called Thursday, and her voice mail said she would not return until Sept. 30. When asked Wednesday why the library was closed, McSwain said only that “we have building issues” and “our lawyer’s working on it.”
Thursday’s statement did not indicate when or where the bedbugs were discovered but said, “it’s also important to remember that this is a people issue and not a building issue. Bedbugs can be anywhere … in recent years bedbugs are seen as a growing problem in all kinds of dwellings.”
Chicago Ridge Mayor Chuck Tokar was unavailable Thursday for comment.
Mary Powers, president of the Friends of the Chicago Ridge Public Library, was surprised when she was told the reason for the two-day closing.
“Oh, my gosh. It makes me want to itch,” Powers said. “I wonder where they found most of them: in the children’s section, the adult section? They are carried on people aren’t they? It’s something I don’t want to think of. I’ll probably go there (Friday) with my granddaughter. I’ll keep my eyes open.”
On Thursday afternoon, several patrons didn’t bother to read the notice on the door. Those who did walked inside, seemingly confident that the problem had been addressed. Well, most of those.
“Really? I’m not going in there,” said one man who didn’t want to give his name. “I’ll give it until Saturday. I’m not bringing any bedbugs home.”
Khawla Mashni, of Chicago Ridge, had no problem bringing her three young sons to the library.
“I’m glad they got it done so the bedbugs don’t jump on our children and come home with us,” she said. “I’m glad they’re able to fix it. I’m not concerned or worried now that they’ve taken care of it.”
Another Chicago Ridge resident, Tony Briseno, was surprised after he read the notice.
“Bedbugs are everywhere. I guess I’ll have to find out if I catch them,” he said. “There’s always a concern. What about if I come in and the next day I have them at my house? I’m trying to figure out how this happened. I assume someone can bring them from their house.”
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2014. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)