City to close Main Library on Monday, Dec. 20 for environmental testing

Action is out of an abundance of caution after higher than acceptable methamphetamine levels were found in restroom air ducts

Recognizing the importance of public safety and out of an abundance of caution, the City of Boulder will be closing the Main Library at 4 p.m. today to all staff and community members to allow for environmental testing related to methamphetamine use in the facility’s restrooms.

The testing will include swab samples of surfaces inside and outside the restrooms.

It is not yet clear how long the closure will last.

The city made this unprecedented decision today after receiving results of tests it ordered of air ducts in six of the restrooms in the Main Library at 1001 Arapahoe Avenue. The tests showed that residue inside the ducts had higher than acceptable levels of methamphetamine. The ducts blow air and contaminants outside the building, but it is not yet clear what, if any, level of contaminants is on surfaces.

The testing stems from a recent spike in reports of individuals smoking in public restrooms over the past four weeks. On two occasions, city employees were evaluated and cleared of ongoing health concerns after experiencing symptoms consistent with a potential exposure to meth residue or fumes.

“This is truly a sad situation and represents the impact of a widespread epidemic in our country,” said Library Director David Farnan. “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 Library will remain open for business.

Employees will be reassigned to other city facilities or branch locations. If employees are not eligible for re-assignment, 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. 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 healthcare practitioner.