We first told you about the Route 9 Library’s PPE project back in early April, while Delaware was under lockdown orders and seeing shortages of personal protective equipment for medical professionals amid the height of COVID-19’s first wave.
The project, called Persist Shields, was a collaboration between Jessica Glassco, Route 9 Library’s makerspace coordinator; Jonathan Rudenberg and Daniel Siders of the Newark software startup Flynn; and local maker Chris Elliot. At the time, it used filament purchased from Printed Solid in Newark to make 3D-printed face shields. Today, Printed Solid is a partner, laser cutting the face shields on its industrial machinery, so they’re now made with a sturdier material that the library’s laser cutter couldn’t handle.
The face shields, as well as fabric face masks made by library employees, were initially sent to a central hub that distributed them to wherever there was the greatest need across the country. As hospitals became less reliant on emergency donations of PPE, the project was able to focus more locally, making shields for speech therapists, teachers — and, now, with Election Day, poll workers.
During the lockdown, Glassco was the sole employee allowed in the makerspace to keep the project rolling. Now, the project gives library employees something productive to do while the buildings remain closed and services are limited to curbside pickup (including free curbside black-and-white-printing, FYI) and virtual programs.
To see how the shields are made, check out this four-minute documentary by John Kaczmarczyk for New Castle County: