Colorado Library Reopens After Meth Contamination and Reports of Smoking in the Bathroom Led to Closure

A photo of Boulder's Main Public Library in Colorado.
A photo of Boulder's Main Public Library in Colorado.Handout

“This is truly a sad situation and represents the impact of a widespread epidemic in our country,” the library director said.

A public library in Boulder, Colorado, is set to reopen after elevated levels of meth in the restroom exhaust vents led to a three-week closure. The Main Library will be open for pick up Wednesday, with an in-person reopening minus public bathrooms scheduled for next week, pending a sealing-off of the contaminated areas.

“Based on what we’ve learned in the past couple of weeks and with the remediation plans we’re enacting, I’m confident there is no ongoing health risk,” Library Director David Farnan said in a press statement. “We are eager to welcome community members back to the library as soon as possible.”

Part of that remediation plan includes a professional cleaning of the contaminated bathrooms and seating areas, including booths and tables, according to the library. In the meantime, public bathrooms will be sealed for public use.  

The library was shut down last month after two staff members became sick from symptoms likely connected to exposure to meth residue or fumes, which city officials said include headache, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. The two staff members were evaluated and have since recovered.

There was also a spike in reports about people smoking in the public bathroom in the past month, according to the statement.

“This is truly a sad situation and represents the impact of a widespread epidemic in our country,” Farnan said.

Out of caution, testing was ordered on air ducts and surfaces around the library, and found that elevated levels of meth in the air ducts, and the highest level of contamination in public bathrooms.

While officials do not believe any library visitors were harmed by the potential meth contamination, the cleaning of those surfaces are now part of the re-opening plan.

“Methamphetamine use has dramatically increased as a challenge over the past few years in communities across the nation including Boulder County,” said Acting Director of Boulder County Public Health Lexi Nolen in a statement to the press. “Boulder County Public Health is committed to continued partnership with the City of Boulder and others to identify and implement solutions that both protect the community and provide support to those needing help.”

Related Stories