Penrose Library in downtown Colorado Springs closed for meth contamination

Andrea Chalfin/KRCC
Penrose Public Library in Colorado Springs. Feb. 19, 2023.

Update Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2023: The Penrose Library is set to reopen Wed. March 1 after it closed more than a week ago due to signs of methamphetamine contamination. Additional testing showed the only areas with meth residue above what the state considers safe were the ducts, fans and vents in restrooms. In consultation with the county health department, the Pikes Peak Library District determined it was safe to reopen.

The equipment will be cleaned or replaced in the coming weeks, according to the district. It's also planning to install environmental sensors in all public restrooms to help prevent any future contamination. The district's mobile library services are also set to resume.

Preliminary testing at three facilities in the Pikes Peak Library District has detected the presence of methamphetamine, prompting the temporary closure of the Penrose Library in downtown Colorado Springs. The district has also closed one restroom in the East Library, located in the northeastern part of the city, and one in the Special Collections Carnegie Library, which is housed at the Penrose Library.

PPLD decided to test for the drug earlier this month after several libraries throughout the Front Range reported contamination. The district tested restrooms at three of its most used libraries: East Library, Library 21c, and Penrose Library, including the special collections area.

Andrea Chalfin/KRCC
After methamphetamine had been detected in the building, Penrose Public Library was closed indefinitely. Feb. 19, 2023.

According to a release, samples from the East Library and the Special Collections Carnegie Library showed contamination levels in one restroom at each location within the threshold set by the state. Samples taken from several restrooms at the Penrose Library showed levels above that threshold. 

Additional testing will take place. Penrose Library is expected to remain closed through the week. All other locations remain open.