As Marshall County Public Library has prepared to reopen to the public over the last several weeks, staff and administration have taken several preventative measures at all three library branches to ensure a safe and healthy environment for patrons who will be entering the building for the first time in months.
But an essential tool needed to keep the library safe during COVID-19 was provided by a brand new addition to the Benton branch since the completion of its new building in March — the Makerspace.
Using a laser cutter in the library’s new Makerspace, tech support staff were able to design, cut, and assemble sneeze guards that have been installed at circulation desks in all three library branch buildings.
"During the construction of the library building project, I would often describe the Makerspace room to those unfamiliar with it as a place for community members to be able to go build, craft, or create something,” Benton Branch Manager Lenisa Jones said. “I never would have imagined that the library itself would actually be needing access to this equipment first just to be able to open our doors back up to the public."
The protective shields will place a barrier between staff and patrons, a recommendation from the World Health Organization and The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, to reduce risk of infection.
“Utilizing the laser cutter in our Makerspace saved us time and money while ensuring we had the proper protection for staff and our patrons,” Digital Media Coordinator Nick Adams said. “Personally, it gave me the chance to learn how it works and learn the specific processes it takes to use it. Cutting our sneeze guards and signage was a learning experience, and I am excited for the opportunity to pass this knowledge on to the people in our community.”
Jones said she believes the ability to design and make their own protective shields in-house only validates how much a community needs a Makerspace and how important its equipment and tools are in a library.
Marshall County Public Library’s Makerspace will include other equipment such as sewing machines, a vinyl cutter, a heat press, a large laminator, and a variety of other hand tools for the public to use. For more information on the library and its current hours of operation, visit www.marshallcolibrary.org or call 270-527-9969.