MIDDLETOWN, NJ: When there is a real need in Middletown, the community comes together to fulfill it. For example, the country has a shortage of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), states and municipalities are all requesting PPE donations. Middletown is requesting and accepting PPE donations, and also not wasting any time to make their own! 

The Middletown Township Public Library (MTPL) and the Middletown Township Public School District (MTPS) have been working together to make reusable PPE face shields for those on the front line of the COVID-19 pandemic. Face shields have already been delivered to Township emergency services personnel and employees who deal with the public directly, and they have been making more for local medical professionals and first responders.

“Thanks to a great team led by Marc Seigel from the School District and several staff members from our library, we already have 100 face shields ready to donate to Bayshore Medical Center,” said Mayor Tony Perry. “We are proud to do our part in supporting our health care heroes.”

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This collaborative effort began when a library patron reached out to see if her sister, who is a nurse, could use face shields that were made by 3D printers, knowing that the library has one. Included in her note were links to directions on how to make a face shield on a 3D printer.

Library Director Heather Andolsen and her colleague Ebony Reeves started working on the plastic visor piece of the face shield on their 3D printer, however the printer can only successfully make smaller plastic items. At that point, Ms. Andolsen reached out to Township Administrator Tony Mercantante and Mayor Tony Perry with the idea to see if they could connect the library with the MTPS District to see if they could utilize the District’s commercial grade 3D printers.

Marc Siegel, Education Technology Specialist, who volunteered to utilize some 3D printers from the School District (coordinated by MTPS Business Administrator Amy Doherty and Manager of Information Services David Siwiak) and print the plastic part of the visors. Tony Mercantante sent along a medically-approved design for the visors. Public Works Director Ted Maloney procured the plastic shields kindly donated by Middletown’s All American Print Shop. Mr. Siegel then printed over 100 plastic visors, and the plastic visors along with the face shields were delivered to the library to be assembled.

Library staff members Wendy LaTona, John Driscoll and Ed Morgado played with the design and followed a template, created by Marc Seigel, showing how to punch holes in the film to finish constructing the shields.

“Mr. Siegel is well-versed in the use of these printers and has been a wonderful resource for us in making these face shields,” said MTPL Director Heather Andolsen. “The face shields are easy to make so we will continue to assemble as many as our local health care workers and first responders need.”

If you are a health care worker or first responder in need of a face shield, please email refmtpl@gmail.comor call 732-671-3700 ext. 320.