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Cleveland Public Library Printing Face Shields For First Responders

The Cleveland Public Library remains closed to the public amid the coronavirus pandemic. [Gayle S. Putrich / ideastream]
People walk in front of the Cleveland Public Library in Downtown Cleveland.

Cleveland first responders will have access to new face shields thanks to a partnership between the city and Cleveland Public Library.

The library is using 3D printers to create about 2,000 shields. Those supplies will be distributed to police, EMS workers, the fire department and emergency medical staff at both local airports, according to Cleveland Risk Manager Eduardo Romero.

“Internally, we’re taking care of ourselves quickly because the supply chain is so backed up,” Romero said. “This also helps out the supply chain by putting a little less burden on them as well.”

High demand for personal protective equipment including masks and face shields has created a shortage, spreading even to first responders and healthcare workers. Gov. Mike DeWine has urged hospitals to save and disinfect face masks, if possible, to help with the supply.

The library has brought all of its 3D printers to the main Downtown Cleveland branch, said CPL Tech Central Manager Suzi Perez. 

“We went and collected the five that were out at branches so that we’d have a central location to be able to produce the face shields,” she said.

Each printer can create one visor in about an hour and twenty minutes, said Perez, amounting to a minimum of 50 shields in an eight-hour day. The visors are then attached to elastic and additional shielding.

“Obviously we’re closed, so a lot of our services have gone online,” Perez said. “But with the equipment that we have, this is kind of a no-brainer for being able to contribute.”

The city will evaluate additional needs after the initial run, Romero said. The new face shields would be limited to city employees for now.

The plastic needed to print the masks was donated by a Lowes in Brooklyn, Ohio.