Here is something you never thought was at risk from climate change.

Photograph by Brian Smithson

Photograph by Brian Smithson

According to the National Trust. climate change is it’s biggest challenge. Particularly the threat to historic libraries from increased numbers of pests like silverfish.

Silverfish are tiny insects that are common library pests. They satisfy their carbohydrate and protein-heavy diet by feeding on paper, book covers and binding paste.

But these are not the only bug to cause nuisance in a library. According to Katy Lithgow, head conservator at the National Trust, furniture beetles, deathwatch beetles and clothes moths are also a concern for librarians, along with mould.

The National Trust collects data on the species and abundance of pests in its libraries, but the time scale is too short to be able to detect trends, says Lithgow, and certainly too short to be able to work out if potential trends correlate to climate change.

The assertion that the charity has already seen an increase in library pests is therefore largely anecdotal, says Lithgow, but in the sense that those working inside the houses are familiar with their history of insect problems. The number of insurance claims is also rising for the Trust’s properties, she says.

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