Even though the library buildings are closed, the Pikes Peak Library District is ensuring that the equipment inside is put to good use.
Four of the LulzBot TAZ 6 3D printers in the library are used to make the headbands for the face shields.
“Almost from the start of this pandemic, we were contacted by members of the local manufacturer community asking if we were going to use our 3D printers for this,” said John Spears, chief librarian and CEO of PPLD. “It was pretty easy to be a part of the Make4Covid initiative and work with this community to get them out so people can start producing personal protective equipment.”
The Library District said printers use an average of about 10 banners per day, but they expect that number to increase as they ramp up production.
PPLD also plans to make more use of its equipment to help during the pandemic.
“We’re looking at using our laser cutters where we could actually make the shields themselves with acrylic,” Spears said. “We are exploring the use of some of our smaller 3D printers, and I think we have around six to ten, which we can use to make the earmuffs for the masks.”
Once the headbands are made, they are shipped to where the government needs the most.
“3D printers aren’t actually in the library right now,” Spears said. “What we’ve done is we’ve worked with local manufacturers, and they actually have them because they have to go through very strict protocols… in terms of who is allowed to be around them since they manufacture medical equipment. “
The Pikes Peak area library buildings have been closed since March 16. In early May, PPLD announced its intention to start a gradual reopening starting with curbside services. No firm date has yet been set, but the library district said people will be able to return the materials and collect the pending items.
In the meantime, PPLD has said it will continue to lend its equipment as long as it still needs it.
“We are here to serve the community, and we traditionally do so as a library. It’s an opportunity for us to just serve the community in a different way, and everyone needs to come together during this pandemic to do their part and help. It’s just one more way we can.