On December 28, a work crew from Cartwright Termite and Pest Control enveloped the historic Ocean Beach library with a giant, dark green fabric and posted signs alerting to the use of Vikane, a brand name of the fumigant sulfuryl fluoride.
The city called the company in November when library employees reported signs of a drywood termite swarm, said Rob Cartwright, one of the company’s owners. A subsequent inspection offered little hope of ridding the critters through a spot treatment and confirmed the need for a full-fledged tent fumigation, Cartwright said.
The chemical doesn’t leave residue and nothing special was required to protect the books. The tent was scheduled to be removed December 31 and the chemical will have dissipated, Cartwright said.
“There’s no need to put books into bags, and nothing has to be washed,” he said. “It’s not as ugly a process as people think.”
The library’s bout with termites didn’t require turning away patrons because the fumigant was applied during the library’s annual holiday recess. The library will reopen as scheduled on January 4, along with most of the city’s other libraries, city spokesperson Dr. Marion Moss Hubbard said.
Though the library’s bout with termites didn’t require shutting down the facility any extra days, it could spur into action citizens who have long advocated for a new structure. The library at Sunset Cliffs Boulevard and Santa Monica Avenue was built in 1928. A plan to expand it from its current 4579 square feet to 15,000 square feet has been on the books at city hall for years, but funding has never been identified.