The Problem of the Book Louse
The New York Times is one of the most prestigious and influential newspapers in the world, with a history of over 170 years and a reputation for excellence in journalism. However, the paper is facing a serious threat from an unlikely source: a tiny insect called the book louse.
The book louse, also known as the paper louse or the dust louse, is a microscopic creature that feeds on organic matter, such as paper, glue, starch, and mold. They are commonly found in libraries, archives, and museums, where they can damage books and documents by chewing holes, leaving stains, and causing decay. According to the New York Public Library, book lice are “the most common pest found in library collections” .
The New York Times is no exception. The paper has a vast archive of printed issues, dating back to its first edition in 1851. These issues are stored in a climate-controlled warehouse in New Jersey, where they are supposed to be safe from harm. However, the paper recently discovered that the archive is infested with book lice, which are eating away at the pages and destroying the historical records.
The Impact of the Infestation
The infestation of book lice is not only a nuisance, but also a potential disaster for the New York Times. The paper’s archive is a valuable source of information and history, containing millions of articles, photographs, and advertisements that document the events and culture of the past centuries. The archive is also a source of revenue for the paper, as it sells digital copies of old issues and licenses them to other media outlets and researchers.
The damage caused by the book lice could compromise the integrity and accessibility of the archive, as well as the paper’s reputation and income. The paper estimates that the infestation has affected about 10% of the archive, or about 1.5 million issues, and that it could cost millions of dollars to restore and preserve the affected materials. The paper also fears that the infestation could spread to other parts of the archive, or even to the current production of the paper, if not contained and eliminated.
The Solution to the Crisis
The New York Times is taking urgent measures to deal with the book lice crisis. The paper has hired a team of experts, including entomologists, conservators, and archivists, to assess the extent of the damage and to devise a plan to eradicate the pests and to protect the archive. The paper is also considering various options to prevent future infestations, such as using different types of paper, glue, and ink, or switching to digital storage.
The paper hopes that the book lice problem can be solved soon, and that the archive can be restored to its original glory. The paper also hopes that the public will appreciate the importance and value of the archive, and will support the paper’s efforts to preserve it. As the paper’s executive editor, Dean Baquet, said, “The New York Times archive is not just a collection of old newspapers. It is a treasure trove of history, culture, and journalism. It is our legacy and our responsibility. We will not let the annoying critter nyt destroy it.”
: According to the New York Public Library : According to the New York Times