San Diego Central Library to use 3D printers to make plastic parts needed for face shields

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – San Diego’s Central Library has started using 3D printers to produce plastic parts needed to assemble face shields amid the coronavirus pandemic.

The CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation, Patrick Stewart, told us more about the project on Good Morning San Diego.


The Central Library supplied KUSI News with the following question and answer sheet about the project:

What’s going on at the San Diego Central Library’s Innovation Lab?
• Sixteen 3D printers are working day and night to make personal protection equipment (known as PPEs) for frontline workers treating coronavirus patients.

• The goal is to provide up to 6,000 face shields to area hospitals.

How many PPEs have been manufactured so far?
• To date, 400 protective face shields have been delivered to healthcare staff at regional hospitals.

• In addition, we’ve made 600 ear savers – nifty gadgets to ease the strain of medical masks that are being supplied to the homeless support center at the San Diego Convention Center.

Who’s behind this 3D printing program?
• The nonprofit San Diego Public Library Foundation is organizing, funding and coordinating the 3D PPE printing effort.

• The Library Foundation has partnered with the San Diego Public Library, Scripps Health and Kaiser Permanente, along with Francis Parker and Bishop’s schools, on this project.

• We also could not do this without Public Technology Services Librarian Catherine Hoang, who is here with me today and her team of librarians, including Renee Brawley, who are printing and assembling all the materials.

How did the program get started?
• The San Diego Public Library Foundation approached Scripps Health to see if the hospitals could use the San Diego Public Library’s 3D printers to help. At the same time, a science teacher at Francis Parker had found the best face shield design and was contacting the local hospital systems to help.

• The partnership was born and the library and high schools began using their 3D printers to make protective face shields for local doctors, nurses and other hospital workers treating coronavirus patients.

• The San Diego Public Library Foundation purchased the materials and printers and coordinates with the library system.

What has been the reaction from frontline hospital workers receiving the face shields?
• These vital face shields are almost impossible to get right now, so the hospitals have been truly grateful for the donations.

• We plan to continue to help fill this urgent need by making thousands of face shields each month.

How are libraries addressing the technological needs of the community?
• To meet growing demands of the digital age, the San Diego Public Library Foundation has helped the Public Library system add online resources, expand e-book titles and equip labs with cutting-edge tools and the latest technologies to help in the fight against COVID-19.  

Are libraries closed due to the coronavirus?
• The physical San Diego libraries are temporarily closed, but the City’s library system is still offing a wide selection of electronic books as well as a variety of other online and virtual content options.

Categories: Coronavirus, Good Morning San Diego, Health, Local San Diego News