Libraries are meant to be a place where people can go to scour the shelves for a good book. Many rely on libraries as a form of entertainment but for the second time in a month, a Colorado library has had to close its doors to clean up a methamphetamine contamination.
Officers from the Denver suburb of Englewood were forced to shut down the city’s library when they received test results showing that the contamination in the facility’s restrooms exceeded state thresholds.
A few other spaces in the library also tested positive for lower levels of drugs and will now require specialized cleaning before opening up the space back to the public. The larger-scale remediation work will include removing tainted surfaces, walls, ductwork and exhaust fan equipment.
Libraries have been forced into having to navigate between making their facilities a welcoming place for everyone while maintaining strict cleanliness so that they are also a safe space. Drug use isn’t normally common at the Englewood library but reports of it have increased in recent months as colder weather has led more people to find shelter there.
The city of Englewood decided to test for the drug after officials in the nearby college town of Boulder closed its main library after finding meth contamination. According to spokesman Raymond Garcia of the American Library Association, it seems that the library closures triggered by methamphetamine contamination are limited to Colorado so far.
The Boulder library has since reopened except for its bathrooms as crews will need to continue their decontamination work including replacing fans and vents. The Englewood library has now made a few changes to offer homeless people an outreach group to assist with getting identification, food vouchers and housing.