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Minnesota State University, Mankato

Minnesota State University, Mankato

Lee Ann Larson

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Why can't I eat in the Library?

Food and drink attract vermin

Where there is food, rats, mice, cockroaches, and silverfish will follow. These pests literally chew up books, and their feces can pose a very significant health hazard to library users and staff. Rodent feces have been identified as a carrier of Hantavirus, which has caused a number of deaths in the western United States within the last few years.

Food and drink are accidents waiting to happen

Spills cause ineradicable stains, and the moisture is a breeding ground for molds and mildews. Fungal growth is highly contagious; one wet book can seed mildew growth through an entire collection in a short period of time, and the clean-up costs are horrendous. Mold and mildew can have permanent, sometimes life-threatening, effects on the health of anyone handling the books.

Cleanup is costly

Most libraries are experiencing significant budgetary shortfalls these days, and custodial service is not high on the list of priorities. Did you know it costs $35 just to get a coffee stain out of a carpet? With fewer staff, trash pickup occurs less frequently, housekeeping may be minimal, and vermin have more time to settle in and wreak havoc before they are discovered. Extermination can be very expensive and may employ hazardous treatments. Prevention is the most effective, and least toxic, method of pest control.

Wouldn't you rather have your library spend its money on books and service improvements than pest control?
Libraries are repositories of human knowledge.

Libraries exist to preserve and provide access to the collected knowledge of our past. Please respect our mission and assist us in pursuing it. Do your eating, and smoking elsewhere. Consume beverages using a spill resistant container.

Virtual Exhibition of Ravages... from European Commission on Preservation and Access