Librarians and Crisis Response: The Case of COVID-19 Maker Response
6:56PM Jul 26, 2020
92nd street y
Our next talk at hope 2020 will chronicle the experience of a group of librarians who used an inspired hacker mindset and the resources available to them to aid the public in fighting the covid 19 pandemic, presenting librarians and crisis response. Please welcome Medea. choccy, Monsieur de separada and Alex Hill.
Hi, everyone. Thank you very much, Rob.
Thank you for inviting us.
Hello. Thank you.
So I'll get started. And I'm actually going to start with sharing my screen and introducing myself. So I'm a deca choccy. I'm the research and learning technologies librarian at Columbia University. And my colleague, Alex, monsieur, as well as a number of others, where it is, together with me on this project that we like to call COVID maker response. So I'll get started here and put together a little photo essay to help tell my story and so that you don't have to read a lot of text. Just to sort of let you know about how this came to be and what, what the process was for for this project to come together and flow. So I'm going to share my screen and start with this.
Okay, so here we go with part one.
Here we are with our prototype face shields. So how did this come to be? Well And March, as everyone knows, we were hit with COVID-19 in the United States and Columbia University being in New York
was going through some, some devastating
numbers and was hit very hard with with the pandemic. In my sort of normal capacity at work, I managed the 3d printing services. So I will help students, staff and faculty engage with 3d printers model. Anything you want to test out, print something out for class, take a quick lesson. And so, under normal circumstances, I would be helping out thinking of ways that I could contribute to the shortage to any sort of questions coming in related to the BP shortage, which were were few and far between until one out the end of March from a doctor was working at the Columbia University Medical Center named pyrolyzed. And that's who you see on your screen right there. And pyrolyzed reached out to me and said, I see your contact information and wondering if there's any way that you could help 3d print faceshield for me, have attached some things I've seen on the internet here. And I wonder how how we can use the printers that the library currently has to print some of these, these out for us these reusable shields. So again, under normal capacity, normal circumstances, I would be like, Yep, absolutely. Tomorrow, I'll have it ready for you just share the file with me. But this is COVID. We had been remote for about a week, campuses were shut down across the city and Columbia's main campus was closed as well as the medical campus. So I didn't have any access to the tools that I would need to put this together, namely the 3d printers. But as an opportunity here, and also just thought that this is something that is so beyond just, you know, saying no, you know, bureaucracies and we can't, we can't make it happen. And I just sort of challenged that and and push myself to do what I could I actually reached out to Pierre the same night and asked him for his phone number as a phone you and then let me hear a little bit more about the shield in particular and let me take a look closely at the file and I think it's something that could be printed really quickly and let me see what I can do. And so once I spoke to him, I realized sort of how serious the situation was. And I wrote sort of up the library chain and disclosed what was happening what peers request was, and I wondered if I could get onto campus and print a prototype Could I could I just go in, print a shield? And have one and then go from there? To my surprise? The answer was yes, you can actually go onto campus. You know, we're gonna make this happen for you. This was within 24 hours, we'll make this happen for you and you can go in tomorrow. So, I actually ended up tweeting all of this so I can share with you what it looked like later on. When I was able to share this out to friends and colleagues, this is from Butler library where I was able to go in and actually bring the printers home. So I packed up this cart with the two 3d printers that I could fit in my New York apartment, all the filament that I could find and bring them home. This is the setup at home in a little tucked away in a corner.
sort of just just fit And then I press go and watch them print.
eventually what ended up happening was within 48 hours, I had six prototype shields ran over to my neighborhood staples, which thankfully was open, grabbed some rubber bands and foam tape to put this design together. The budman Industries design is the one that I used with some modifications to expedite the printing time. Mainly how dense the layers were and spaces in between the the holes that were being punched. So by the end of almost at pretty much the end of that day, I handed Pierre who came into my apartment, six h shields and he was overjoyed. And that's the picture that I took of him. He was going to go test them out with his colleagues and see how That would, how they would fit. And if we could print more.
Of course, they were
in favor of us printing as many as possible. So we got three to work. I continued to print in my apartment. And very soon after sharing the story on Twitter, I was able to connect with two other local companies. So one, not a local but international maker bought and a local company called tangibles creative who were located out in New Jersey. So upon connecting with them, they were very supportive of our cause. And we're interested in collaborating with us and providing us with as many face by shield visors as they could. And very quickly we ran out of space in my apartment to enhance to assemble these visors. So, got to work sort of very quickly reaching out to me context to see if we could acquire any space in and around the city again COVID. So we knew that there were, you know, empty buildings empty spaces. We were faced with some more sort of bureaucratic challenges at Columbia, trying to get on campus or to use a campus building for our assembly operation because we knew we would need a handful of volunteers to help us put this together. And through one of my contacts, I got in touch with the director of operations at the 92nd Street y which is a very historic y mha in New York City, and they offered their space to us at no cost. They said this project is very much in line with their philosophy and they would be so happy to contribute. They gave us access to their lounge space, which was a very large room in the front of the building, and we were able to bring in 10 to 15 volunteers at once. Safe socialists, And sing and and start putting our, our mat our shields together all at once. So here you don't see our volunteers. This was just the first day that I was able to take all of the visors into the why set them up on this line of tables and start putting them together myself. And then that's the photo of the 92nd Street Y and that's a photo of pier with more boxes advisors that I would give to him at the end of the day. So eventually we had a very large operation. As you can see, the room was very large, we would stack visors, and then we sort of operationalized everything made the process much more efficient as we were going and producing large numbers. On the left you see a photo of tangible creative. The space that they have out in New Jersey is very large and they have about just under 60 printers, 3d printers, and almost all of them where we're producing these shields for us. We have A number of very, very dedicated volunteers both in the assembly line and outside of the assembly line who were doing
deliveries, apologies back and forth from the New Jersey location to the Brooklyn location, which is where MakerBot was located to the 92nd Street y, which is located on the Upper East Side. So we had sort of this whole process underway, visitors, and it was changing constantly. For example, in the beginning of the project, it was we were at the, at the 92nd Street y from maybe 10am to about 11 or 12 8:11pm or 12am. Just sort of going unboxing and waiting for pickups from frontline medical professionals who were going to come by once their shift ended. And then we sort of made it such that we would maybe send it over so that we wouldn't be there so late so that we could get some rest and so that we could be Bright and early and recharge the next day, because we recognize that we will be doing this for quite some time. And the project sort of just grew from there, we continue to share these with all of the frontline medical professionals who are requesting these and these didn't, you know, these did come with their, you know, fair share of challenges. So we would have medical professionals from the same hospital unit, for example, that, you know, we would have one unit that was using these shields and another unit that wasn't and we would be getting emails or requests to say, you know, how do we get these in? How do we use these, we know that another unit in the hospital is using them, who are you in contact with. So there were sort of these sort of fractured siloed moments that we were also trying to deal with at the same time. And I think my colleagues later we'll talk about the website that we built and the guide and all the work that went on to say port, this but sort of just wanted to share some of these photos and cases here. So another group that we shared our shields with was the fire department of New York and the emfs. And we had a point person there, her name is Monica and she's quite famous with us or their team, who very generously would come by all the time, speak to our volunteers and, and be very encouraging. And
it's our sort of liaison for that that group.
I look forward to answering your questions. But this is sort of the spiel that I had to share sort of how this project came to be and sort of what the
grassroots sort of level looked like.
Sarah, you want me to go or you were going first?
Want to close up? Okay.
All right. Sorry. Apologies for for for mixing up the order. Hi everybody. Yes. Blood Medina describes his journey as I remember, it was quite a journey. I'm glad that we were able to join madiha. In this adventure my comments are going to focus on a couple of things. I'm gonna talk a little bit about what communication entailed. And talk a little bit also about the context for us of doing this type of work at the library is not our first rodeo. So I'll be talking a little bit about that. So let me start with some of that work of communications. Because this was grassroots, and we were talking to a million different parties at the same time, we felt like we needed to do a couple of things to actually save us time. In communications. One of those things that we were doing would, that we did first was created a guide, because a lot of the requests we were getting in the beginning, when people started finding out what we were doing, or requests about how to replicate what they were doing. So how do people were asking how can I print these this parts myself, how can I assemble these parts myself? So I'm going to share my screen real quick to show you our first attempt at trying to ease the sort of pressure on communications for us. And that was our guide and design for the rapidly produced facials. And this guide is a sort of step by step set of instructions on how to put together the shields but also has the file that Maddie had designed based on the Birdman industries model. And it was still refined a little further when we started collaborating with people over at tangible creative. Now the second sort of release valve for communication and so for those of you who are listening, sometimes people don't realize that community when you're doing these kinds of projects, communication takes like a substantial chunk of the labor I would say like one third of the labor is just the time you spent talking to different parties. And it's real labor of people people. sometimes forget that you have to you have to bake it in you have to make time for it. And that you should strive to try to create this Release valves. The second the second result we created was the sort of information website for the project, which you can see right here. That's the cover maker response, or the which now it's in its final iteration, it doesn't have all the parts is to have, it just has more or less a description of what it is that we did a couple of pictures, sort of listing of the press coverage of the project and an email in case people wanted to contact us after the fact and the website for that is COVID. Make a response cutter response calm and their website for the guide and designed for rapidly deployed facials is too complicated for me to spell out here is if you go to the studio dot columns dot c well columbia.edu you will find it right away or you can just simply use your search and your brows Well, in any case, so Having done these, these sort of release valves and in this multi purpose websites that allow us to take a little bit of that pressure off of just sending emails with the slings to people. Most of the communication work involved talking to nurses and doctors, and the different stations that were operating assembly and production throughout the whole day. I was I was taking point on that for most of the duration of the project in my apartment, and I would wake up around 830 and start getting an email, an email and on the phone and continue to do that for the rest of the day until like five confirming pickups confirming new orders, making sure the driver left the house and this and this kind of stuff. So full time work, my dad would come in and help out once in a while with the communications. And so what mustier this also involves, of course talking to the press that was starting to get curious
and in general gave me a really good view of what was going on. And what was going on on the on the ground in hospitals that I wouldn't have gotten Otherwise, there gave me an opportunity to actually talk to so many nurses and so many doctors and paint a picture of what dealing with COVID sounded like and look like, every day as events unfolded. And it isn't based on this view that I want to move on to the second part of my comments focuses on a little bit, expand a little bit in the context of the kind of work that we do. The library I Columbia University members that we have been doing because it was doing this course that I learned example that a lot of these doctors and nurses wanted to do this without calling too much attention to themselves. Many of them weren't allowed to Like city officially asked for shields or any other form of PB and I don't know if some of you in the audience has got to see some of those reports in the press about how some doctors were getting fired for actually going on Facebook or going on Twitter and nurses to talking about the situation at their hospital was dire and how they needed to be. It turns out that some, some policies in some hospitals, some strategies coming from PR, etc. It said there were actually four bidding people from expressing their need. While this is happening, I'm also seeing that the state and corporate are not doing what they were promising to do. We saw a lot of people promising we're going to do 200,000 face shields. We're going to do this and that we know of some efforts close to us that were just being held back because they're waiting to to file a patent, for example, and the crisis kept going, and people were dying, and people were waiting because they wanted to file a patent, we saw the state that and the city of New York making promises. And yes, it's coming. It's coming and nothing has happened. So I'm talking to these doctors. They're there. They're not allowed to say that this is going on. Meanwhile, corporate and state are failing us left and right. And here we were just a few libraries with working with some volunteers from the med school. George, the delivery guy, okay. I don't know where to drive around part of France and time to a creative and and make our bodies a corporation. But it was just the way it was done. They're super interesting, but I'll let them talk about how they did that. But it was a buddy. It was only the grassroots. It was only the hackery, folks. This
is Congress. translates to Colin,
that was actually stepping up at the height of the crisis in the city to provide this kind of protection for hospitals. This is a sad state of affairs that has a lot to do with defunding and sort of like the crumbling infrastructure of the United States. And this is a good segue, this kind of crumbling infrastructure that actually gives rise to hacker ethos, not as a hacker ethos doesn't come out of some genius new cultural form. And actually in my view, in my understanding of it comes out of the necessity that we are faced in order to address large infrastructural deficits are all around us. Now, it is in this context and dead I want to introduce the concept of nimble tents are more or less humanities which we have we have been exploring in the library for a while. So a little context Like I said, this is not our first rodeo about three or four years ago when Maria started getting a little bit my my ears start to blink.
The when Maria hit Puerto Rico
and destroyed the island, me and was here where the library discussing where we're going to this was before the big format he had joined our team. And a few others at the studio were discussing what we could do. And very rapidly, we decided that we were going to team up and organize that university wide mapathon to try to respond to the Red Cross call for improvement of the maps that they were using on the ground through the hot always openstreetmaps tool. But we didn't want to stop there. So yes, we wanted to organize invite our students and our colleagues and faculty at the University to call them And help us do this mapathon. I imagine most of the audiences here is aware of these kind of mapathon 's and their history that goes more than that it's more than a decades old, and OpenStreetMap. Well, we don't want to stop there. Or the other thing we wanted to do is actually make it in such a way that it becomes a model for all the other libraries in the United States. So their centers do exactly what we did, and eventually, by aggregation, do the map of the whole and indeed 25 other libraries mostly, and some in some universities and some centers joined us. We had shared fliers step by step guide on how to do this. They joined us and we rebuild the map of the island. My they have today is still doing those marathons in the studio, for example, says it sounds something we did like four years ago, and we still believe Continue to do the same. So now that we have finished, for example, with this with COVID make a response, we'll probably go back to continuing doing these kinds of marathons. And maybe he's in charge of running that operation, if you want to ask him more and the question and answer about that. Now after that, let me after that, we, like a year after, I don't know if you remember the family separation crisis of 2018, when we started seeing images of these kids being separated at the border, from their mothers and the kids crying for their parents, this was when the cirro tolerance policy of the Trump administration hit us hard and America all of a sudden kind of wake woke up to the sort of cruelty that was happening at the border. When that happened, since same as we did When, when, when Maria hit Puerto Rico, we we got together at the studio, the team of us and and we asked ourselves, what are we going to do? fairly quickly, we decided that we were going to react, put a team together outside of Colombia, many others.
And in seven days, we mapped out
the infrastructure, the carceral infrastructure of ice.
Now, some of you may have already seen this. It's an interactive map. It's a series of interactive visualizations that map out ISIS impact the in the United States and the United States of America. Including the detention centers where they had the kids in seven days we went on rapid exploration and research, the breaches, frantic manic, we didn't stop. We woke up at six in the morning and went to bed at 12 for seven days at to map out As much as possible as we could have the physical infrastructure of ice some of the, the the utilization design and the website is coated mostly by my seer, I helped out a little bit we had a team also do there was a constant team, a team that was each doing something different like research. There are compiling a list of allies, etc. That was in seven minutes rapid nimble. In Volume Two, which followed on the heels of Volume One, we are also in a rather speedy way went to town mapping the financial infrastructure of us. But then we were starting to understand that we were invested in this idea of responding to moments of crisis by bringing together Coalition's of people the right people with the right talents to address that crisis. There were many other examples that I'm just going to skip in between here. And when we arrive at COVID make a response.
But this practice
this conscious practice of reacting to crisis by putting together teams has, has actually given us a lot of a lot of fodder for thought that I don't have time to share with you the extent of all that thinking that has taken place, but I wanted to highlight a couple of points before passing on the the mic and the camera to most you. One of them one of the characteristics of this kind of work that I have noticed something like a common denominator is that these things that I call nimble tins are having culminates that they're extra institutions. They have an outside of the teams that you only have available to you inside your institution where your work. Yes, you use, you pair up with the people inside where you work. But you also pair up with people outside of where you who they're not grant funding. They can't be because they have to be fast. So the for the Red Cross cannot wait for you to hear back from Mellon about whether you're going to get a grant in order to help them rebuild the map of the city you have of the of the island you have to react with. Same with the family separation crisis, we had to react. And same with COVID. And with any other example of these exercises that we have done in the past. That poses an interesting question for labor that connects back to this. To work to this context. I was talking about this idea that we have the hacker ethos comes about because the infrastructure is not there. It's not to say that the infrastructure couldn't be there, and there will be less need for hacking. So I know it sounds paradoxical. But I wish we didn't have to do any of these things. So one way halfway point, for example, though, that we can achieve as institutions become savvy to this fact, and start allowing for time and resources to be dedicated to their staff to be able to do these kinds of responses. Now, let me give you just one last example of the failure of institutions to do this. Before before passing on to one seer, and that was when we were doing the Maria and its implication when we were doing Maria Maria project, the PR mapathon hashtag beer marathon. We've talked to Microsoft, Google, Amazon, etc. And we said, Listen, universities are doing this libraries are doing this, we think that your employees would love to do this. If you give him like two hours on Friday, at the end of the week, and just let them gather together in the cafeteria, they already know how to do everything and let them just participate. It would be good for morale boost, and we would get the map done quicker, we'd be able to do this quicker. Every person that I talked to was middle management of above and in every single place that they shut it down as a failure. I actually think that these institutions could have done could have done that and more. And I think so so so to close. I think that private institutions, public institutions, and the state could do a lot more and work on To allow us to have this space where we can go ahead and intervene in crisis that are unforeseen, unpredictable, etc. So with that I'm gonna pass it on, I look forward to your questions and answer. Thank you for inviting us. And with that, I'll pass it on to my colleagues here to close.
Thanks, Alex. And thanks, Maddie, have for starting us off here. I too, I'm going to share my screen a little bit. So I'll start with the Alex started talking about nimble tense. And one of the things that we quickly learned when doing these kinds of projects is that we have our fields of expertise that we're good at dealing with. And then we have fields of expertise where we don't really know what we're doing. And sometimes we're successful in finding people who can help with that and sometimes we aren't. So for example, what Brought Medina into the project in the first place was, as she mentioned, an already existing familiarity with 3d printing, etc, etc. So that when the doctors reached out to her, she was already in a position to be able to mobilize her specific skill set in order to help out in a certain way. And in the mapathon, it was a similar thing like the the people that organized it, we all had familiarity with making these maps and with dealing with we conceptually understood what editing these maps involved even if we had never actually done it on the OpenStreetMap model. So that sort of thing helped out too. But when it came to, when it came to making the shields, quickly, it became clear that one of the big roles was logistics and my my 10 minutes here I call logistics. Who knew? Because who knew that it was complicated. thing. I mean, we actually did. And one of our volunteers ended up being a professor in the, in the, in the, in the engineering school works with logistics like he that's his field of expertise. And he helped us out a little bit. But more than anything, a lot of this fell to us. So I kind of want to finish out where Alex, where somebody has started us out in a very organic and materialist perspective. And Alex brought us out into the realms of theory, as is his want. I'm going to bring us down a little bit to a more materialist view of what this project actually entailed. So the parts of a face shield in muddy has pictures and in one muddy Hill was already explaining you could cut you could start to see that there were a bunch of different things that go into making a facial. So the first and most important of course, is labor. Mostly important because it's the easiest to forget about. We the reason why we were Were able to make 10s of thousands of Shields and deliver them was precisely because we had a labor force, we could have had all the means of production available to us as we wanted, and we still would have needed a labor force. Then there was the visor, it's the visor itself, the screen, a forehead cushion, the head attachment mechanism, the cushion adhesive, and tools in space. This language is a little bit a little bit abstract and over formal, but it's only because what we call that in the on the shop floor, rubber bands, etc. isn't exactly descriptive of what they were actually doing. So the labor was made up as mentioned, as Medea mentioned, of mostly Columbia graduate students, but also Columbia staff. And this really involves library staff that worked
that we're doing just their regular library jobs like in charge of procurement and we're working on Kens and that sort of thing helping out Columbia faculty and librarians, so the three of us and then other and then faculty members, etc, who helped out with the library are two non library partners tangible creative and maker bought. And then community members which which provided printing resources. George the driver who was driving things around the five boroughs. And then even other libraries like Brooklyn Public Library lent us 10 3d printers to help print visors. So the visor itself in an unexpected twist, if you had asked me when we started this project, I would not have guessed this, but in an in an unexpected twist, twist, the visor ended up being the easiest part to source. We effectively called the cost of each visor to be effectively free, because everybody was donating their filament their time on the machines and the amount of human labor involved in pulling the devices off of the machines off of the printers boxing them and so on and mailing them in many cases to us we we counted all of that is to all of that is free because because we weren't charged in any way for it and it was it was kind of a real entry point into this project for most people I think that the most of the the the the role that had the most number of people involved in it probably was printer 3d printer and I'm it's it's a question for the community when trying to think about these these sorts of things moving forward, especially within that hacker ethos about how much of that was because it had this kind of tech sheen to it like it was cool to be 3d printing things. It's far cooler to to 3d print things and you know, take video or or stop action photography of a 3d printer making something and it is to photograph someone tying knots or making a video of someone tying knots it's it, it ended up being a funny problem because this was a bottleneck we had way more supply advisors, then we knew what to do with. The next is the screen, which is the part that goes over the face. And this was sourced in two different ways. And it's it's interesting because each way had its own benefits and and disadvantages and drawbacks. So we used for the first set, muddy has started using dura lar, which is a thin acetate like sheet that involved hole punching holes into fit onto the visor. And that worked reasonably well. But the problem was was that the hole punching you had to sort of redo every single time you had to reline up where the holes would be etc. So it's very time consuming and the dura lar was very expensive and very difficult to source quickly sold out on Amazon and the company that produces It was not terribly interested in selling To us, so we always had to go through through middle companies that were that were also having their own supply chain difficulties. about midway through the project, the Columbia makerspace, they had designed their own all in one shield that was made out of one sheet of thick plastic that they would fold together origami style and wrapped around their head. And it turned out to be the case that there was just enough waste in that single sheet to cut to eight and a half by 11 sheets that we could use ourselves for, for our projects. So they started giving us these for free too. So even though running the water jet cutter is extremely expensive, and I can't even imagine how expensive it is we started getting these sheets for free. It was just in just the effort of going out there and picking them up. They also just like the girl or they also weigh a lot, but it also became its own production ball. Because we misunderstood how we were how many of these sheets we were getting. But it also it also has a bit of a texturing too, because you know, it's really cool that a makerspaces waterjet, cutting these different things. These are two pictures of me in order to be able to make the sheets usable, we needed to measure out exactly where to punch the holes so that the water jet could could drill them in. So I sat and took pictures of myself with a piece of paper before then measuring everything out and sending it to the engineers who then made our first prototypes that you can see in these photos. The next is the forehead cushion, which was cheaper, bulky but quickly sourced, and it required adhesive and required cutting.
But then the other funny thing was figuring out exactly how to attach these visors. So again, this is we had both very simple problems that are thousands of years old. How to attach something to your head. As well as very new problems like how to 3d print advisor that were competing with each other and competing for time and energy and focus from our volunteers. So the original visors were done with rubber bands, and then we move to we move to rope for a while and then we move back to rubber bands. And the rope was I was very proud of it and I thought it worked really well but the learning curve was exceptionally difficult so the rubber bands were better. And the rubber bands were also very easy to source from Uline so you can see how pretty they are once they all go on advisor. The adhesive itself was the most expensive consumable which is unexpected and was also difficult to source so like these, these supply chain issues, persist and will come up at the end. And then the last was tools in space. we lucked out madiha already mentioned the 92nd Street, y we also Alex and I live in the same building in Columbia housing. And we lucked out and we're able to get the rec room which has been closed for use, we were able to get that for, for using for building. And so the questions are like, so how did we do it? How do we do all of this? And the answer is basically that we didn't production instability lead to labor on rest, it became really tricky to keep wrangling the volunteers. Because every day the question would be like, well, do we have sheets? Do we have foam, and the just in time manufacturing that we all thought that we as like clever hackers would be able to enable relies on accurate inventory and predictable supply chains. And we were not able to reliably Have either of those. And so we ended up chasing production with what's at hand. So we, we did very well, I think, but it reached the limits of our abilities. And but in closing, the good news is that all of our inventory ended up in shields given to people in need. So it all worked out in the end. But there was a lot of ups and downs and on the way there. And that's all for me. And we're at just past 40 minutes. So we're open up to questions now. Thank you
the most here and Alex, thank you all very much indeed. I encourage our audience members who are in the livestream session q&a channel to post their questions that they that they have for you all, and I will relay them here.
And while we're waiting for some questions, are there any
Are there any final things you'd like to say to wrap up or things that you took away from this experience? I'd
if I could, I'd like to ask madiha to tell me more about the sorts of showmanship On a very briefly about the kinds of bureaucratic work that she did in order to get the printers up and running. Like because that she made it sound very simple, but I suspect that it was actually more complicated and what sorts of things were involved in making it happen. Sure,
um, so in order to so a number of things, so to first even to bring the printers home to even get access to, you know, the lab in which the printers lived, it was jumping through hoops, meeting with public safety, getting a key that opens Butler library, all very, very unusual and unfamiliar, you know, something that there is no process for. So kind of doing that was already something that I was very nervous about. And then once I was there, and beginning to To get things ready to bring the printers home, it was a matter of how do I transport this in a way that nothing breaks? Or how do I make sure that you know, the voltage in my apartment is gonna, you know, allow the printer to run I mean, these are all of course like it, I'm sure if it knew that it would be okay ultimately, but it was also sort of
just a little
a little overwhelming. So getting that home was was one bureaucratic level another was, you know, keeping the printers even so just asking for permission to keep them for a little while longer so that I could continue to print. Another was to write very kind of emails to request that we buy some more of the filament. So as we were printing more it was, you know, we need to funds to continue to buy more filament to continue to produce these shields. In the large numbers that we were doing, so there was that aspect to it. And then there was the accuracy of the space. So I think there was also, you know, this, this need for space. And then this need for these two printers and potentially more because we had as we built out our relationships and connections to different doctors, medical professionals groups, who were very much in touch and wanted to support our work as we were supporting them. We would message us and say, you know, I have a printer here, or I know someone who has a printer, and it's in New Jersey, but we can get it to you like tomorrow. We could use it and it's like, of course we could, but we need space. So the 92nd Street y was very sort of critical for us, because it allowed us to sort of open that up and we were able to line up a number of printers and we were able to sort of get past that that hurdle of You know, like now there's a community of printers instead of just Columbia printers. So we have a community that's working together to ensure that they're working. If something breaks down, we were able to train some students, student volunteers who had never experienced, I've never even come across a 3d printer before, you know, under like how to load the filament, for example, how to troubleshoot a printer. So it ended up being sort of its own, you know, hack a 3d printer sort of experience. But I think there's another question. So I'll pause for a second. Um,
number of members of the audience are wondering how many facials you were able to make? Sure we made
just under 26,000. So I think the total was an Alex or Monsieur correct me if I'm wrong, but the last I checked, it was about 25,700 and change. And then we had a number of is, yeah, so we had a number of visors and pieces that were left over We sort of
because we didn't want to over produce put our volunteers at risk to continue to produce shields for the New York, New Jersey for the tri state area if there were not shields, you know, being disseminated at the same time as they're being produced. So we sort of halted and paused. And then there was a larger need that came up and we were able to donate those resources to another group in New Jersey that was able to put them to use and and share them out. So that was a lot of this coalition building and network
When one other member of the audience asks, do you have any recommendations for a library member to leverage these sorts of resources and participate in these sorts of projects?
I think Yeah, we're we're also mere mortals. We are they, yes, that we can have anything particularly superhuman About us, I think, I think we were learning as we went along. We have never done anything that I wrote this kind of complex logistics like Maziar was describing that wrangled production from a large corporation, a small mom and pop shop volunteers from we have never done anything like this. I mean, the the thing that this has in common with other efforts were like, we know that people can collaborate with each other and bring their skills in and outside of your library. Like we knew that we knew that if you keep on if you insist on on being part of the solution, and dedicate enough time to researching enough enough labor to actually talk to those who have experience
use a little bit Yes, use a little bit of, you know, cleverness and resourcefulness that you can actually accomplish. These things I think the key, something that I've noticed is that the key thing is that if people, if everybody kind of organizes themselves into things that we kind of know they're, they're already good at. Like, even in our own team, even between the three of us, we have different things that we're that we lean, like even though we have generalist tendencies, we have strengths. And we kind of mapped out ourselves according to those strengths. Yeah, just yeah.
Sir god. Oh, thanks. Just quickly, I want to add that libraries are community spaces, which means that they're open to the community and therefore the community. And part of part of a community is like Alex saying, knowing who is good at what and who can help with what. And that's it was through these kinds of community connections that we got the volunteers that we did, we got the spaces that we did, and we got everything that we did, including talking our bosses into paying for a lot of exactly and so I think that for A library. Remember, it's about being part of the library as a member and understanding that the library is part of your community and is there to serve the community, which means it's there to respond to your desires and your your demands.
And we will have to leave it there. We're just about out of time. But really quick, where can people go to find more information on your work and what you're doing?
You want to share the link to the studio.
tab, you can there's several places where you'll find our work on the most important one is the Columbia University Libraries studio. And I can Google Yeah, you can google our names and you will see different things. We're getting them and on Twitter. You can find us all three, all three of us on Twitter. I'm in ultrasonics. Thank you, guys for inviting us. Thank you, Rob, for being such a great moderator. Thank you all very much. Thank you.
The link is in the chat.