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San Diego Libraries Manufacturing Protective Gear for Healthcare Workers Using 3D Printers

Mayor’s Directive Has Libraries Working to Make Hundreds of Face Shields For Kaiser Permanente And Scripps Health

Thursday, April 9, 2020 - NEWS RELEASE

SAN DIEGO – Continuing efforts to make City resources available in the fight against COVID-19, Mayor Kevin L. Faulconer today announced the San Diego Public Library is producing hundreds of protective face shields for local hospital workers to flatten the curve.

Mayor Faulconer was joined by Chris Van Gorder, President and CEO of Scripps Health; Jane Finley, Senior Vice President and Area Manager for Kaiser Permanente; and Patrick Stewart, CEO of the San Diego Public Library Foundation.

“We’re going to use every tool we have to protect our hospital staff and first responders in the fight against COVID-19 and that requires thinking outside the box,” said Mayor Faulconer. “These machines, once used for class projects and entrepreneurs, are now exclusively used to produce face shields and save lives in our local hospitals. This is a great partnership between so many San Diegans to provide innovative solutions to combat this deadly disease.”

Each face shield consists of a 3D-printed visor, a protective laminate sheet, a 3D-printed bottom anchor and an elastic strap. To streamline the production of the face shields, a dozen of the City’s 3D printers were moved to the San Diego Central Library’s IDEA Lab to ensure quality and control. Short for Innovation, Discover, Experience and Achieve, the IDEA Labs foster lifelong learning through connections to knowledge and each other.

One librarian can operate multiple machines at once to produce about 50 face shields a day, resulting in 300 face shields produced a week. Each face shield takes an average of two hours to produce.

The printers and materials used to make the face shields will be funded by the San Diego Public Library Foundation which has committed to purchasing three additional high volume printers and supplies to support this ongoing effort.

“This project is just one example of how our libraries and librarians are an essential part of our community's infrastructure. Now, more than ever, library e-resources are an essential lifeline for families schooling at home,” said Stewart of the San Diego Public Library Foundation. “The San Diego Public Library Foundation is honored to be able to fund and support the expansion of that effort, ensuring broad access to educational tools.” 

Today, Kaiser Permanente health care staff are currently using the protective face shields created in the San Diego Central Library and are expected to be in use by Scripps Health staff within the next week.

“This is a great example of collaboration across the community in response to this pandemic,” said Van Gorder of Scripps Health. “By working together, we will keep our doctors, nurses and others on the frontlines safe so they can be there to care for our community.”

“Kaiser Permanente is deeply appreciative of the community response to help deliver needed supplies to front-line health care workers,” said Finley of Kaiser Permanente. “3D printing is a wonderful example of our innovative, smart city that brings tangible solutions to the real-time needs we are experiencing during this pandemic. Thank you to our students and business community for stepping up.”

These efforts were spearheaded in the classrooms of the Francis Parker School in Linda Vista and the Bishop’s School in La Jolla when teachers like Denver Guess recognized that similar efforts across the country could be replicated in San Diego. A mother of a former student who works at Scripps Health inquired to Guess about donated personal protection equipment. This conversation quickly led to Guess working with the supply chain manager at Scripps and 3D printers in the area, including those with the San Diego Public Library, to result in the size and scope the project is today. 

“Francis Parker School is excited to partner with the City and local medical institutions to produce and donate needed safety equipment. Our namesake, Col. Francis Parker, once said, ‘The needs of society should determine the work of the school,’” said Guess, science department chair at the Francis Parker School. “In this crisis, it is an honor to be able to play a small part in making a meaningful difference in our community.”

A statewide “Stay-at-Home” order is in effect until April 30. For more information on the order, including what’s closed, what’s open and which industries are exempted by the state, please visit COVID19.ca.gov.

For information regarding COVID-19 cases and directives from the County of San Diego public health officials, please visit www.coronavirus-sd.com.

For the latest City operational updates and steps the public can take to help reduce the spread of the disease, please visit sandiego.gov/coronavirus.

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