Three public libraries in Colorado have been shut down in the past two months after tests revealed unhealthy levels of methamphetamine at the facilities.
In the latest instance, the Bemis Public Library in Littleton — about 10 minutes south of Denver — was forced to close its doors after a test found meth contamination in the bathrooms, city officials announced on Thursday.
No evidence of drug use or paraphernalia was found by library staff, but the tests were “performed out of an abundance of caution,” as the findings “indicate elevated levels of methamphetamine contamination requiring professional decontamination” in the bathroom exhaust fans, officials said.
“According to our partners at Arapahoe County Public Health, health risks to the public are considered low but we want to make sure our building is as safe as can be before we reopen it,” Littleton city manager Jim Becklenberg said in a statement.
In late December, the Boulder Main Library was shut down for over two weeks after restroom exhaust vents also showed elevated levels of methamphetamine after employees observed people using the drugs there in November and December.
The city said the restrooms were among “the busiest in the city.”
Public computers and laptops were removed “to prevent dermal exposure and the spread of possible contamination,” the city said. The library’s walls, HVAC system and carpets were all meticulously cleaned, the city said.
The Englewood Public Library closed last week after testing levels of meth following the closure in Boulder and also found several areas of the library that tested above acceptable levels.
“We are going to have to look at a multi-pronged approach. I don’t know of a perfect solution. I think increased security, more staff awareness as well as training for folks in and around the area,” Englewood Director of Public Works Victor Rachael told KDVR.
The Boulder Regional Transportation District downtown station bathroom area also tested positive for traces of meth last week, KDVR reported.