Why these libraries welcome the bat colonies that live among the books

In a Mediterranean climate, buildings of that age might not have any windows to close.


Sounds like a Guillermo Del Toro movie waiting to happen: Archivist vampire makes a lair in an ancient library…she was the original librarian!


OK, second crazy idea: spend a few hundred bucks and install screens over the windows.

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“According to our records, you withdrew this copy of the Necronomicon from our library… um… 137 years ago… er… Might I ask, why you are looking to return it now?”

“The stars are right.”


Was coming to point out this very thing!

  1. These are heritage buildings. Altering them to preclude insects would involve a ton of paperwork and another ton of planning by an architect so as to not ruin the aesthetics while you do so.

  2. You got me off my butt and I’ve looked at pictures of the buildings in question. While the buildings do have regular windows, they also have a bunch of baroque features that provide ingress to bugs and which would be devilishly difficult to close off. Easier to just let the bats in.

Library Joaninia, check out all those thingies up on the roofline. Keeping the squirrels out must be a nightmare, keeping insects out is probably impossible:

National Palace at Mafra. Those bell towers are like bug and bat freeways to the inside of the building. And again note the complex topology of the thingies up along the roofline.

  1. (ETA) Finally, the bats have been there since before screen windows were invented. By now, the libraries are known for having bats (the Library Joaninia brags about it on their web site), so the bats are (ahem) a feature, not a bug.

This whole story is just bat scat crazy.

Also, this is the coolest, best story.


True. What’s cool and crazy about it is the relationship between the librarians and the bats… interspecies symbiosis!


Indeed, and Librarians are among humanity’s closest living relative (they diverged from Homo Sapiens as late as 1876), so, maybe there is hope for Man and Bat to also live together in harmony.


Because if it’s not baroque , don’t fix it.





okay who else would have guessed a common pipistrelle was a kind of mushroom?

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Librarians who turn into scholarly bats at night are double-plus cool.

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Furthermore, bat poo is – comparatively – quite nutritious and similar in protein content and calorific value to the McDonald’s Corporation Big Mac sandwich Fenolio et al. (2006) compared it with. … The short gut carrying time of the bats that produced the guano (Myotis grisescens, the Grey bat) means that their dung is quite rich in calories and nutrients.


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Well, really it should be owls for that.

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This is my dreamhouse. If civilization should fall, I would toil away reading everything in there, at night by moonlight only, with a cigar, fez, smoking jacket, and scotch.

Bara no Seido album by Malice Mizer would play in the background, commenced upon bats waking up. Followed by Arvo Part in the wee of the nicht.

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wondering the same thing…having dealt with guano i can’t imagine this is a good idea when there are so many better alternatives. my guess is this is simply a justification for a historical relationship, something that persists from a time when it might have made a bit more sense. i don’t see any new libraries going this route…

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Tell us more?

The side effects for bugs indiscriminately killed by a bug zapper is a death sentence, whether its the bugs eating to books or not, whether the bug is beneficial or not, whether it’s completely harmless. Definitely not cool.

Fabric made from animal skins…so leather? Fur coats for tables?

So, the bats are discriminately eating bugs?