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Boulder's Main Library closes after meth was detected in restroom air ducts

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Posted at 2:17 PM, Dec 22, 2022

UPDATE | Jan. 6 — During a City Council meeting on Jan. 5, Boulder Public Library Director David Farnan said the total cost to fix and test the Boulder Main Library is $225,000. None of it is covered by insurance.

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BOULDER, Colo. — Boulder's Main Library is closed and awaiting test results after methamphetamine was detected in the restroom's air ducts.

David Farnan, library director for the City of Boulder, said over the past four weeks, the city's Main Library, located at 1001 Arapahoe Ave., had numerous reports of suspected drug use in the bathrooms. In addition, Farnan said a few employees reported mild symptoms possibly linked to drug exposure. They were cleared by medical staff.

After receiving these reports, library staff, along with city facilities staff, began new cleaning protocols to follow whenever there were suspicions that somebody may have used drugs in the restroom. The new protocols allowed for extensive surface cleaning and closing the restrooms for at least an hour.

"The city also took the extra step of checking the adequacy of the exhaust vents in these enclosed spaces," Farnan said in an online statement. "This included the proactive measure to hire a contractor to conduct testing of the air ducts. The test results came back Monday and showed that residue in the exhaust ducts of most of the restrooms had methamphetamine readings that were above the allowable threshold, requiring remediation."

Denver 7+ Colorado News Latest Headlines | December 22, 11am

The library closed on Monday out of an abundance of caution and for further testing, he said. This will determine if there was meth residue in and outside of the restrooms.

Currently, a laboratory is working on those results.

Farnan said there is no known risk to anybody who was in the library before it closed on Monday.

The library may open portion by portion, but those details will not be available until the testing is finished, he said.

He also acknowledged that there is the bigger underlying issue of the drug use behind the closure. City officials are evaluating how to best prevent drug use in the library, how to keep private spaces private without illegal activities taking place there, and any additional security measures.

Currently, anybody who violates library rules will be suspended. Suspected drug use will result in a 364-day suspension.

"To be completely transparent, we do not have a perfect solution that will prevent something like this from happening again but that is our goal," Farnan concluded in the statement.

The Meadows, George Reynolds, and NoBo Corner Library are open.