30 March 2020

Lithuanian libraries offer support to healthcare professionals

Martynas Mažvydas National Library of Lithuania in cooperation with the country’s public libraries are actively involved in the Robotics School’s initiative to help produce 3D printed face shields for healthcare workers. Over 50 public libraries of Lithuania have joined this initiative.

“Currently, we are in dire need of strong solidarity and mutual support. In order to meet the growing demand for protective equipment as the country is being hit by the coronavirus outbreak, we have mobilised our processes and human resources and started coordinating the production of protective face shields in Lithuanian libraries in cooperation with the Robotics School,” said Prof. Dr. Renaldas Gudauskas, Director General of the National Library.

“A total of 54 libraries throughout Lithuania have joined the campaign. They are supporting the medical staff of the local medical institutions. We will continue to produce 3D printed face shields as per demand. These shields will be supplied not only to healthcare workers but also to volunteers and representatives of other professions who are working in high-risk areas,” said Donatas Kubilius, project coordinator and manager of the National Library’s DIY Workshop.

The libraries launched production of the shields a week ago. A total of 1,669 face shields were printed during the first stage of production. Later today, three libraries (the National Library of Lithuania, Vilnius county public library and Kaunas county public library) will receive 10,800 shield blanks made of eco-friendly plastic which will later be distributed among the country’s libraries based on demand. The volunteers working at the libraries will produce the required assembly components using 3D printers and will send the packaged protective equipment to the medical institutions serving their areas.

The face shield protects the face and offers protection against airborne viruses thus reduces the likelihood of contracting the virus. The design for the face shields is the result of the joint work of the Robotics School, volunteers and the 3DCreative team. The National Library of Lithuania purchased 58 new 3D printers for the major public libraries of Lithuania in 2019–2020 as part of the project “Promoting Smart Use of Refurbished Public Internet Access Infrastructure Among Residents” (VIPT) (the project is financed from the Operational Programme for EU Structural Funds Investments for 2014-2020).

The country’s libraries have been closed due to the coronavirus outbreak following the enforcement of quarantine on 16 March. Understanding the importance and urgency of such service, the libraries took initiative to conduct the work on a volunteer basis using their own funds and resources.