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Coronavirus Resources

Uses for Library Technology

As libraries have temporarily closed, they are repurposing their unused technology equipment.

Library Examples

Directors and staff have been looking for ways to use of their physical equipment to benefit their community. 3-D printers, once a highlight of makerspaces, are becoming consequential tools to help individuals in the fight against COVID-19.

  • Pottsboro Area Public Library (pop. 3,579) in Texas programmed their 3-D printers to make ear guards, different types of face masks and doorknobs that can be opened with an elbow.
  • Waterloo Public Library (pop. 73,426) in Iowa is printing out the visor for face shields and sending them to other organizations to assemble, while Baldwin Public Library (pop. 35,350) in Michigan is printing out the visor and assembling the face shields themselves.
  • Toronto Public Library (pop. 2,731,571) has donated 30 of their 3-D printers to a Toronto General Hospital Initiative for the organization to print out PPE.
  • Additional libraries are featured for their work in crafting medical equipment with their makerspace equipment on the Urban Libraries Council blog.

Additionally, unused public-use computers available in the library present an opportunity to support medical professionals. Many libraries are using their computers’ processing power to run disease simulations to support virus researchers.

  • Duncan Public Library (pop. 22,985) in Oklahoma began using “Folding at Home” two weeks ago. This program borrows the computer’s processing power to run a simulation that is then sent back to central servers for disease research.
  • Regina Public Library (pop. 215,106) in Saskatchewan is also running the “Folding at Home” program across five of their library computers and four of their servers, which hold the processing power of a large number of desktop computers.”