Two rodents were spotted at Regenstein Library at the end of last quarter.
On Sunday, February 12, second-year and former Maroon news editor Hillel Steinmetz posted a photo he had taken of what he thought was a brown mouse or possibly a baby rat on the library’s A-level to the Facebook page Overheard at UChicago.
“I found the mouse in a corner behind the book cart,” read part of Steinmetz’s caption. “It ran away right after I took the picture.”
“Hilly [Steinmetz], Sunaina [Kathpalia], Lauren [Futter], and I were studying our math in the A-level at about 9 p.m. when Sunaina saw some sort of furry rodent dash around the corner of the cubicle nearest the A-level entrance,” said Hanna Pfeiffer, another second-year present.
“We jumped up and left our math things to investigate. We found the mouse shivering behind a metal bookshelf. It’s unclear whether it was a baby rat or a regular-sized mouse. It was pretty cute, but when Hilly posted a picture of it on Overheard at UChicago, some people began to call for its termination.”
Third-year Brooke White provoked further debate in the Overheard comments on Saturday, February 25, when she posted two photos of possibly a different mouse on the first floor of Regenstein Library. Many students insisted she bring the issue to the library authorities before any rodents spread disease or ruin historical records.
“I haven’t followed up,” White said. “I personally didn’t think it was my responsibility to pressure the Reg to follow-up with me or keep me informed. That’s the first time I’ve ever seen a mouse in the Reg. It’s a little alarming that a mouse was out in the open on the first floor, especially around a lot of people, so maybe that’s an indication that there’s a more extensive rodent problem that we don’t know about.”
Patti Gibbons, the Head of Collection Management at the Special Collections Research Center, has been looking out for rodents that may infiltrate the collection, but has not spotted any.
“We’ve actively looked for any signs of trouble,” Gibbons said. “You know, mice droppings, teeth marks on things, nesting. We’ve looked under stacks and quiet corners and things like that. So far, nothing.”
Gibbons added that Special Collections does not allow any food in their department, which probably helps not attract rodent activity. Additionally, they put pads underneath the doors to prevent “critters” from crawling through.
According to a custodian at the Reg, people regularly eat on all or most floors. Snacks are permitted throughout Library spaces, with the exception of Crerar compact shelving, Mansueto, the Regenstein bookstacks, the Regenstein Art Reading Room, the Social Service Administration Library, and Special Collections.
The general manager of Ex Libris Café, John Rudnik, said that the café has a dedicated pest control team and that it has not seen any rodents.
Director of Public Affairs Marielle Sainvilus stated, “Facility Services is confident the issue is under control. The Library takes all reports of mice seriously and works through the University’s process to address them. If Library users see a mouse in the building, they are encouraged to notify Library staff of the location of the sighting.”