Making Face Shields with Maker Hardware at the Great Neck Library

This is a guest post by Adam Hinz, Youth Services Coordinator at the Great Neck Library in Nassau County, NY.

The Great Neck Library is located in Nassau County, NY, and is right on the border of Queens, NY. By the end of the day on March 13, we were advised that the library was going to be closed through the end of the month (obviously much longer at this point).

About a week or two after the library closed, another library professional reached out to me and a colleague about a 3D printing project to create personal protection equipment (PPE) for medical personnel. We were all in!

The files and designs for the project are all open-source. I looked them over and everything seemed straightforward. There were already several options designers had put out there, but the face shield we ultimately decided to use was one that did not require any foam or elastic. This would help alleviate having to worry about ordering additional components. The only additional piece besides what is 3D printed is an overhead transparency. The 3D printed piece goes around your head, and the transparency connects to it to create a shield.

Once the details were worked out, I asked my supervisor for permission to take home a 3D printer from our STEM Lab and to use the laser engraver to cut the holes and round the edges of the transparency film. She agreed and we were in business! My colleague Chris helped tweak the design files for the transparencies to accommodate letter size paper, as the original design was in A4. After this hiccup was cleared, I cut as many transparency films as I could, grabbed a 3D printer, and headed home.

Over the last month, my dining room table has been a production center for making the shields. There have been issues to troubleshoot throughout. When I ran out of laser cut transparency films, I had to borrow a Silhouette from a friend to continue making more. Another friend started the project on his own 3D printer and gave me the head pieces he 3D-printed so that I could add the transparency films.

Ultimately, a patron from the community helped us connect with the right people at Northwell Health for donations. They have advised us that the face shields meet their specifications and are usable. I have provided a link to the model we are working with at the end of this post. In addition, the National Institute of Health also has provided specifications for 3D printed PPE that hospitals, doctors, and other medical personnel can use. At this point, many hospitals and municipalities have instructions for donating PPE on their websites. In addition, you can reach out and donate PPE to other essential employees who are dealing directly with the public such as transit employees, grocery workers, and delivery personnel.

At this point, we are more than a month into the shutdown. COVID-19 has been relentless in Downstate NY. We are tremendously thankful to the medical personnel who are working hard every day, and we are just glad to help!

Useful links:

National Institute of Health 3D PPE: https://3dprint.nih.gov/discover/ppe

Open Source Face Shield Files: https://3dverkstan.se/protective-visor/

– Adam Hinz

Serving Teens During COVID-19

Like many of you, my anxiety levels are high due to all the changes in our current world. In Illinois, most K-12 schools have been closed since March 16, and the transition to e-learning is in full swing.  My community college moved to the online environment on March 23 after an extended Spring Break. I’m privileged and thankful to be able to work from home, but it’s difficult to keep my teenager on track with e-learning and to balance the home and work duties, especially on the lovely Spring day last week when it was 70 degrees outside!

My library was in a fairly good place to transition all services to the virtual environment.  We already use LibGuides and have subscriptions to many databases. I’m able to update everything from home, and login to my work computer through a virtual machine. But the quick transition to virtual meant learning to use quickly purchased campus-wide technologies like chat, Zoom, and Skype. All of these technology updates were sorely needed, but the learning curve was steep for many faculty and staff members! But we’re surviving. And serving our students the best way that we can.

And I know you all are, too.  I reached out via Twitter to see how YALSA members were serving their teen patrons, and heard from two Illinois librarians. Tracey Virrorio, Teen Services Librarian at Plainfield Public Library District, utilized the teen-focused Instagram account (@plainfieldteens) to issue a call for a Virtual Teen Art Show.

Plainfield Public Library Virtual Teen Art Show

Screenshot from @plainfieldteens Instagram

Tracey is posting one piece of art daily and will be showcasing a gallery of images on the library’s Facebook account. What a great way to showcase teen quarantine creations!

School librarians are facing an uphill battle in some school districts. Worksheet packets and e-learning can only go so far. Belleville Public Schools are parking their wifi-enabled buses around town so that more people can use their wifi, but what about those students who have no one to drive them to a bus? Or don’t even own a device?  How do we tackle issues like equity when the state orders e-learning to occur?

Mariela Martinez Siegert, School Librarian at Westfield Middle School, addressed the concerns that many of us have about equity:

“I think one of the things that concerns me so much as a school librarian is the elitist idea that everybody has Internet access or devices to participate in e-learning, remote learning or virtual learning. Or even the time. We have some students who are taking care of their younger siblings because their parents are working still or working from home. We have families whose only internet access is their phones data plan. We have families in rural areas that have no internet access and devices might be limited depending on the needs of the family. And, yes, there are some programs out there for free internet access, but there are some serious flaws with these programs. Our lower- and middle-class working families who are on a tight budget, or even a tighter budget now, can’t afford the Internet or the larger phone data plan at the moment.”

The stay-at-home edicts are widening the learning gaps that already exist and librarians are finding ways to help. Many educators in my professional learning network are stressing that the internet needs to be a public utility, available to all. Broadband needs to be everywhere and all students need to be equipped with a learning device to take home. Why are some districts more privileged than others?

YALSA has already been working to remove inequities within its own organization.  An Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Statement and EDI Plan guides our work and much of our work already exists in the online environment. But how do these documents apply to your own library during COVID-19? How can libraries strive to eliminate inequities? How can YALSA help you do so? If you have any suggestions, please post in the comments!

Also, if you haven’t already, please consider donating to YALSA’s Give $20 in 2020 campaign. We want to continue to strengthen Friends of YALSA to fund member grants and awards because these help to eliminate inequities between our own members.

Stay safe,

Sarah Hill, Financial Advancement Committee Member

YALSA President 2016-2017

COVID-19 : Guide to Handling Materials

Hi everyone,

Many of us have received questions about how, in this time of extreme uncertainty as the pandemic continues, are we going to work through the important topic of lending materials in school and public libraries. While we have e-materials that can be safely circulated by our users, the bulk of most collections in school and public libraries remains physical, tangible items.

The Maryland State Library Resource Center and Enoch Pratt Free Library (Baltimore) have put together a Guide to Handling Materials during COVID-19. This document, as stated, outlines the safest practices known updated March 30, 2020.  It includes references and links to associated information.

Another notable article from American Libraries, “How to Sanitize Materials in a Pandemic” (dated March 27, 2020), similarly outlines suggestions for handling library materials.

This quote from Jacob Nadal, Director for Preservation at the Library of Congress is included in the first document, and indicates that there are still many unknowns about the viability of the virus on various library materials:

“There are no studies that specifically answer the question of how transmissible COVID19 might be from the most common library materials – for example coated and uncoated paper, bookcloth, or polyester book jackets. Quarantine of materials for 72 or more hours seems to be the safest course.… There is very little research on the effects of medically effective sterilization and sanitization measures on the condition of library materials, another reason to favor quarantine.”

It should be noted that due to the national shortage of PPE (personal protective equipment), items such as gloves should be reserved for medical, health care, and first responders and not purchased or stockpiled by libraries at this time. Use your judgment about how many gloves currently on hand at your school or library would be needed for the safe handling of library materials, and if  large amounts of unopened boxes of gloves could be donated to more pressing needs in your community.

Thank you for your continuing work for and with both teens and everyone within your service populations,

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter : @toddbcpl

COVID-19 : While your library and/or school is physically closed

Hi everyone,

Thank you for your continued commitment to your work for and with teens in libraries, as we all adjust to these unique circumstances. I’ve received a number of questions about what YALSA members and others who work for and with teens can do to help during the shutdown of many schools and libraries, coupled with social distancing mandates. Obviously, this doesn’t allow us to connect directly with the teens we serve, but give thought to the many venues our 21st century technology affords us. At this time, what we can do for teens will require us to consider more indirect support than what many of us are used to providing. Advocate with administrators to ensure that any online programming that your school or library posts includes teens and the needs they have. Be mindful that most teens are not used to being away from their friends, and conversely are spending an unexpected amount of time with their nuclear families. Parents and guardians, too, are trying to figure this out as they go along.

Of course, not all teens are privileged, and we should remain cognizant of our most vulnerable populations and those who face the greatest challenges. Serving those teens at this time is more difficult than ever before. Using the online tools afforded us by our partner community and government organizations, we can consider this a time to recognize what holes in the safety net exist, and how we can better approach these problems both now and when a semblance of normalcy returns.

Many of us have turned, by choice or necessity, to online forums and tools to stay connected with our students, colleagues, fellow committee and task force members, and our families and friends. As time permits in our lives turned upside-down, I’ve provided a list below of items produced by YALSA to keep us engaged with our work and if nothing else, a needed break (as appropriate) from the pandemic coverage. While some of this may appear to be basic, we’re all getting our footing again, and ensuring a strong foundation will help us all as we move forward.

Please note: I am aware that not everyone has the time or energy at this time to devote to continuing education opportunities or ideas of how to prepare themselves for when schools and libraries reopen. Others are not being paid, and I am not recommending that you work for free. Do whatever works for your situation; caring for your own needs is critical.

  • This is a good time to review some of the basic tenets of YALSA membership and the best practices of teen services in libraries. Have you read through the Teen Services Competencies for Library Staff recently? This is a bedrock document, which also has free webinars associated that discuss each of the ten competencies. Watching them may provide you with areas to think about improving personally or institutionally, and, depending on your workplace, may count as continuing education credit. Similarly, our recently adopted EDI Statement and EDI Plan are core elements to everything YALSA does. Think about how they may apply in your own setting. Make a list of thoughts to share about how your school or library can strive to eliminate inequities and encourage more inclusive practices.
  • One of the ongoing concerns of those of us who work with teens is the lack of media literacy that has plagued us in the Information Age and as social media has proliferated. The Teen Literacies Toolkit focuses on media literacy, and now would be a great time to review that document and provide library staff with ways to help teens navigate their world and the data they’re consuming. For more information on the current state of media literacy, I recommend the National Association for Media Literacy Education’s 2019 report.
  • What programming will teens want when they return to the schools and libraries that serve them? The Teen Programming HQ is a good start to think about potential programs that are current and have proven to be popular. This could be a chance to look into the many making and crafting opportunities for teens that are available online, as either active or passive programs. If you are able to stay in contact with your Teen Advisory Group/Board, ask for their input. List programs or ideas and poll teens for their favorites. This is a terrific time to be creative, as everyone, teens and adults alike, is in the process of figuring things out.
  • Think about the options that you have for keeping up-to-date on YALSA’s awards and selection lists. Read or listen to that book you’ve always meant to, or the one you overheard teens discussing recently. If you don’t have the opportunity to check out ebook or e-audiobook versions, you may want to browse professional and individual’s reviews online. Keeping up-to-date with what teens are reading and listening to, along with their other interests, can allow you to make connections that may not occur otherwise. Pay special attention to the Teens’ Top Ten list, which are voted on by teens themselves. If possible, share your own reviews or book talks online using your institution’s social media accounts.

I hope some or all of these ideas are helpful in answering the questions I have received. There are many, many more opportunities to stay relevant and keep on top of our teens’ ever-changing circumstances. Again, I appreciate your continued work for and with teens, whether in person or virtually!

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl

YALSA and COVID-19 – A Message from the President

Hi everyone,

As we continue to adjust our lives to the worldwide COVID-19 pandemic, I wanted to send a short message of assurance that YALSA continues to support its members during this unprecedented crisis. Our mission states that we support library staff in alleviating challenges that teens face, and this may be the greatest challenge of our time. COVID-19 cases continue to rise in the United States, and as testing ramps up, it is a foregone conclusion that many, many more cases will be diagnosed in the coming days and weeks. Healthy teens and young people, thankfully, seem to be able to weather the virus themselves, but as we know, they also have a tendency to feel invincible. Young people sometimes do not realize the consequences of their actions; in this case, unknowingly spreading the virus throughout the community and to those who are immunocompromised, along with the elderly. These are two populations that have not had the same rate of success dealing with the lethal strain. If you are in communication with teens, please encourage them to stay at home with their families or guardians as they are able. Community spread must be tempered to prevent the virus from wreaking havoc with our lives.

Your YALSA virtual volunteer work is always appreciated; however, during this difficult time, we understand that committee, task force, and/or jury work has taken a backseat to your daily life. While there may be an opportunity to get things done, as many of us now have unexpected “downtime”, the YALSA Board and YALSA staff understand that not every volunteer has the same amount of time or mental energy to devote to these projects. We will continue to assess previously stated deadlines and goals as the days go on.

If you haven’t yet, please read the message from ALA Executive Director Tracie D. Hall about the ALA response to COVID-19, and check out the #LibrariesRespond information on the ALA site, which also addresses the xenophobia that sadly has already become associated with this outbreak.

The CDC has provided resources to deal with manage anxiety and stress as we work through this uncharted territory. Keeping yourself healthy and uncompromised is of paramount importance.

Something to consider, depending on your current work and life schedule: if you haven’t cast your ALA/YALSA ballot yet, this may be a good chance to do so. Virtual ballots arrived to your email on file with ALA last Monday through Wednesday, March 9-11. The election ends April 1, 2020, at 11:59pm. If you have not received an ALA ballot for the spring election, contact the ALA office for more information.

Edited to add, 12:15pm March 17, 2020: The ALA Executive Board has just released a statement, encouraging all libraries to be closed to the public.

Thank you as always for the work you do for and with teens, and please, stay safe and healthy.

Todd Krueger, YALSA President 2019-2020 | Twitter: @toddbcpl