The main library in Boulder, Colorado, has been shut down after methamphetamine, an extremely addictive drug, was found in the facility’s bathroom air ducts.
According to reporting from local outlet KUNC, additional tests were then performed to determine if the rest of the building was affected — though the preliminary results showed that the methamphetamine was mainly found in the restroom areas. Test results also uncovered surface-level contamination, as the substance was found on surfaces including the seating areas.
The City of Boulder released an update on the incident on Wednesday, writing: “The restrooms and these seating areas will need to undergo professional remediation before they can be made accessible to the public.”
The contaminated seating areas will likely be repurposed for another use, and the library will probably have to bring in furniture that can be thoroughly cleaned on a regular basis. Officials are currently considering the level of restroom service that the library will need in the future and discussing plans to ensure that no illegal activity occurs in those private, enclosed spaces.
As of now, it is not clear if or when public restrooms will be brought back to the library.
According to city leadership, their goal is to “reopen as much of the facility as possible as it is safe to do so.”
Officials noted that they expect a full report and test results at least by December 30.
An update from city officials stated that as soon as a full report and test results are available, “the city and the health department will confer, determine a reasonable path forward, and develop phased remediation, re-opening, and ongoing cleaning plans.”
The update also noted that the earliest the library may reopen its doors is on Tuesday.
The Main Library remains closed indefinitely. Staff will meet Tuesday, Dec. 27, to review meth contamination results and create clean-up plan. The branch libraries will re-open Monday, Dec. 26.
— BoulderPublicLibrary (@boulderlibrary) December 24, 2022
According to WebMD, methamphetamine is an addictive substance that affects an individual’s central nervous system.
“There is no legal use for methamphetamine. It is a manufactured substance that causes an immediate euphoric reaction,” the site states.
A CBS Colorado report from December 20 noted that drug use in bathroom spaces has been on the rise:
“We had about 12 to 15 reported incidents in the past month,” Sarah Huntley, a city spokesperson, told the outlet.
“We want to obviously provide people with opportunities to deal with their biological needs with privacy and dignity, but we also have to strike a balance for folks who might choose to use those same spaces for illegal activities,” Huntley added.