or, The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Fear and Loathing at a Public Library Reference Desk

Bat in the Library!

   September 8th, 2011

We had a little excitement Wednesday afternoon, when staff noticed a brown bat hanging on the wall inside the library. This is actually the second library bat since I've worked here - this time I got some photos and a video of the rescue.

Sadly, this photo is a little blurry - I was trying to sneak around the library and take pictures without alerting patrons to what I was doing. We had no idea how people would react.

Bat in the Library

Eventually I was able to get pretty close - the bat was either asleep or indifferent, because at one point a man sat on the bench right below him with no response.

Bat near Large Print Room

We called animal control, but they had already closed for the day, so one of our maintenance guys volunteered. He got a butterfly net from the Children's Room display closet, a piece of cardboard from the recycle bin, and got the bat out of the building - with no injuries.

Make sure you turn the sound on when watching the video - you can hear the bat screeching/chirping about being in the net.

[video link]

Someone checked the net about ten minutes later, and the bat was gone. I'm sure this a common occurrence in libraries, but it was a nice little diversion for us (but probably not for the bat).

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9 Responses to “Bat in the Library!”

  1. Daniel Messer Says:

    Aw! Poor thing!

    Bats really have an undeserved bad reputation. For the most part, bats are like many other wild animals. They fear humans, they don’t want trouble, and they’ll try and stay out of the way until they think it’s safe. Since they’re mostly nocturnal, your critter there was probably dozing most of the time on that wall. No doubt he/she had been trying to figure a way out for a while and that kind of activity will tucker out a small bat like that one.

    Glad y’all got it out without too much incident. The whole “he’s more afraid of you than you are of him” thing really holds true here!

  2. Catherine Says:

    Obligatory link to Brian Lies’s Bats at the Library: http://www.worldcat.org/oclc/199448451

  3. Liam Hegarty Says:

    I hate to be a downer, but that is somewhat peculiar behavior for a bat. You might consider talking to your local board of health. In the county where I work there is a huge children’s hospital named after the daughter of some rich guy whose young daughter died from rabies. They had shooed a bat out of her bedroom, but there was no visible indication she had been bitten until she got sick and died.

  4. Stacey Says:

    I love how calm your maintenance guy is – just another day working at the library!

  5. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Daniel: I know, the Childrens Librarian and I have been trying to hold a “build a bat house” program here for the last couple years. We’re going to try again this spring.

    @Catherine: our copy is even checked in – ha.

    @Liam: The odd thing was that staff was positive he wasn’t there earlier in the day. We don’t know where he came from, but he seemed healthy enough up close – even still, I do wish animal control worked better hours.

    @Stacey: That made me laugh too. Not much phases him – he didn’t even realize I was recording him until I showed him the video.

  6. Karen Says:

    Love the story!! I once found a bat sleeping in a cup in my sink. The poor little thing got trapped in the house! Garden gloves and a bowl helped me get the critter outside.

    Perhaps the bat likes Large Print books?

    (I work in a government library, the feds will never let them past security.)

  7. Jarod Says:

    Haha that is hilarious! Are there librarians who carry nets ??

  8. Penny Says:

    Good thing he didn’t drive anyone batty! 😉 We’ve had a chicken in the library, but so far, no bats. 🙂

  9. Brian Herzog Says:

    @Karen: that’s great – startling, but great.

    @Jarod: ha – we had to look around a bit, but we knew we had one in the building.

    @Penny: Wow, a chicken? We have staff that bring in eggs from the chickens they keep at home, but that’s the closest we’ve come. The only animals I know that we’ve had are bats, mice, and a lady who kept bringing in her dog claiming it was a service animal, but it clearly was not. (We also have an annual Childrens program farm animal petting zoo, but that doesn’t count.)