One of the more surprising communities Make4Covid has been collaborating with across the state of Colorado are the public library systems. Oliver Sanidas is the Executive Director of Arapahoe Libraries, and he heads up one such team based in Centennial, CO.
Mr. Sanidas has been a part of the Arapahoe Libraries team for over seventeen years. When the libraries were forced to close due to COVID-19, this “Innovation Champion” gathered his team and began brainstorming ways to use the libraries’ resources to support the community.
Sanidas learned about Make4Covid by reading a post about the group’s efforts on LinkedIn. Sanidas shared this information with his Creative Specialist Team, and they all decided this was a great way to get involved and mobilize the Arapahoe Libraries’ resources to support the community.
Sanidas explained why libraries have been uniquely situated to serve the public in this way:
“Almost all libraries have maker spaces these days. Libraries have evolved over time in terms of what we have to offer the public. We used to be a consumption-based service offering products such as books, movies, CDs, and DVDs to be checked out and returned. Now we are focused on being a resource for lifelong, experiential learning. We offer hands-on training to equip the public in acquiring and building 21st century skills. We do this by providing interactive learning through classes, events, and community gatherings.
Libraries were created to democratize information – to make learning accessible to everyone. Today, a large segment of that requires having technology resources available for the public such as computers and 3D printers.
We’ve had 3D printers for at least four years, and we have trained a community of makers over that time. When the coronavirus came to Colorado, we were curious to find ways to use our resources to benefit the community. Once I learned about what Make4Covid was doing, I knew we had to use our 3D printers to be part of the solution.”
Arapahoe Libraries has a total of ten 3D printers dispersed across their nine locations. Sanidas wanted to use all these printers to make the needed personal protective equipment, but his first priority was protecting the health of his staff. He did not want his team members to have to leave their houses, so he and his team decided it would be best for one maker to house the printers and oversee the operation.
Carrie Jost, the supervisor of the Creative Specialist Team, stepped up and offered to have all of the 3D printers moved to her garage. Jost is an experienced maker and has been running the operation out of her home since receiving the printers. At first, Jost was able to use materials she already had to make the face shields. However, after running out of supplies, she began using materials provided to her by M4C. Donations to Make4Covid have made it possible for makers like Jost to get the provisions they need to continue producing PPE for our frontlines.
Denver Public Libraries share a similar story, explained by Nate Stone in this video:
In addition to Denver Public Libraries and Arapahoe Libraries, Make4Covid has been fortunate to have the support of Broomfield Libraries, Estes Valley Libraries, Boulder Libraries, Lafayette Libraries, and Pikes Peak Library District. Check out the news coverage below to learn more: