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Colorado Libraries Closes Because of Meth Contamination

A second library in Colorado has closed after city officials said it was contaminated with methamphetamine.

The public library in Englewood, about seven miles south of downtown Denver, was closed last week, shortly after test results showed that its bathrooms, as well as some other surfaces, were contaminated with the drug, city officials said.

Out of an “abundance of caution,” the city, which has a population of about 33,500, said it had decided to temporarily shutter the Englewood Public Library as well as a lobby and some restrooms in the nearby Englewood Civic Center, citing contamination.

Shawn Lewis, the city manager, said in a statement that the test results were “troubling.” He said the city would immediately begin work to remediate the affected areas of the library, with the goal of reopening as soon as possible.

“The health and safety of our staff, residents and patrons is of the utmost importance to all of us at the City of Englewood,” he said.

The Englewood Public Library

The city said that it tested the library on Jan 6., shortly after methamphetamine contamination led to the closure of a library in downtown Boulder, Colo., about 30 miles northwest of Englewood.

In Boulder, officials said that they had decided to test after receiving reports of people smoking meth in the library’s restrooms. Members of the library’s staff had also been “evaluated and cleared for potential meth exposure after feeling ill” on two separate occasions, the city said. Restroom exhaust vents were found to be contaminated with the drug, the city said.

The closure of a second library in the state in just a matter of weeks has highlighted a difficult balancing act for public libraries as they try to keep their doors open to all during a pandemic and a drug epidemic. As free indoor spaces, libraries face a particular challenge.

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