Boulder Public Library closes due to people smoking meth in restrooms

The Boulder Public Library closed Monday afternoon after testing found “higher than acceptable” methamphetamine levels in restroom exhaust vents.

It is unclear how long the main library branch will be closed, said Sarah Huntley, a spokesperson for the city.

The library closed at 4 p.m. Monday after environmental testing of six of its restrooms that morning showed levels of methamphetamine in the vents.

After receiving the results, the city contacted Boulder County Public Health, which will assist the city with the remediation process. Huntley said the city will hire contractors to complete more testing to analyze surfaces inside and outside the restrooms.

Huntley said the city hired a contractor to test the exhaust vents after receiving about 15 reports of people smoking in the library restrooms in the past month. During that time, there have been two incidents where city employees were evaluated by paramedics after experiencing symptoms consistent with potential exposure to meth residue or fumes after going into the restroom.

Although the exhaust vents blow air and contaminants outside the building, it is not clear what, if any, level of contaminants are on surfaces in the library, Huntley said.

“This is truly a sad situation and represents the impact of a widespread epidemic in our country,” Boulder Public Library Director David Farnan said in a news release. “The city is consulting with Boulder County Public Health officials and will take all steps necessary to prioritize safety. We are committed to transparency and appropriate remediation.”

The Meadows, George Reynolds and NoBo Corner branch libraries will remain open.

Boulder Public Library employees will be reassigned to other city facilities or branch locations, the news release said. If employees are not eligible for reassignment, they will work from home.

There is no indication at this time that individuals who have been in the library and its restrooms in recent weeks face significant health risks, the news release said.

Symptoms of exposure to low levels of methamphetamine contamination can include headache, nausea, dizziness and fatigue. Individuals who have visited the library recently and are experiencing any of these symptoms should consult their health care practitioner, the news release said.

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