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Libraries Play a Crucial Role in Coronavirus Response, Say Panelists at Route Fifty Webinar

Elijah Labby

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Photo of Cleveland Public Library Executive Director Felton Thomas courtesy of Cleveland.com

July 14, 2020 — Libraries have a unique opportunity to respond to the coronavirus and are well equipped to assist vulnerable populations, said participants in a Route Fifty webinar Tuesday.

Felton Thomas, executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library, said that his library played an important role in helping Cleveland to respond to the pandemic.

Their first step was developing face shields in-house for essential workers in the city.

“Public libraries were put in a position where due to COVID, we couldn’t fall back into our natural role,” he said. “So we had to look for other ways to provide our communities with what they needed.”

The Cleveland Public Library has leveraged its 3D printing technology to make about five thousand face shields, Thomas said. These masks have been given to hospitals and other essential industries to help assist with the shortage of personal protective equipment.

However, the process has not come without challenges, he added.

“One of the struggles is the fact that we need to start,” Thomas said. “As we start reopening our libraries, we need to start creating those face shields for our own staff.”

Thomas said that in the future, he and the Cleveland Public Library will look to other libraries, such as the Boston Public Library, that have been providing broadband access for members of the community.

“One of the things that they did was they recognized that folks who were in recovery weren’t being provided access,” he said. “So, they worked with their city folks to… provide hotspots for those community members.”

Eric Batista, director of the Office of Urban Innovation for the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, said that such innovations will be crucial in the future.

“This is the future,” he said. “The future of connectivity, the future of engagement is technology, and if they don’t want to prepare for the future, then we’re going to be behind as a city.”

Digital Inclusion

Removing Roadblocks on Bridge Over Digital Divide: Explaining the Affordable, Accessible Internet for All Act

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Photo of House Majority Whip James Clyburn, D-S.C., in March 2011, from the office House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's office

July 14, 2020 — Libraries have a unique opportunity to respond to the coronavirus and are well equipped to assist vulnerable populations, said participants in a Route Fifty webinar Tuesday.

Felton Thomas, executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library, said that his library played an important role in helping Cleveland to respond to the pandemic.

Their first step was developing face shields in-house for essential workers in the city.

“Public libraries were put in a position where due to COVID, we couldn’t fall back into our natural role,” he said. “So we had to look for other ways to provide our communities with what they needed.”

The Cleveland Public Library has leveraged its 3D printing technology to make about five thousand face shields, Thomas said. These masks have been given to hospitals and other essential industries to help assist with the shortage of personal protective equipment.

However, the process has not come without challenges, he added.

“One of the struggles is the fact that we need to start,” Thomas said. “As we start reopening our libraries, we need to start creating those face shields for our own staff.”

Thomas said that in the future, he and the Cleveland Public Library will look to other libraries, such as the Boston Public Library, that have been providing broadband access for members of the community.

“One of the things that they did was they recognized that folks who were in recovery weren’t being provided access,” he said. “So, they worked with their city folks to… provide hotspots for those community members.”

Eric Batista, director of the Office of Urban Innovation for the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, said that such innovations will be crucial in the future.

“This is the future,” he said. “The future of connectivity, the future of engagement is technology, and if they don’t want to prepare for the future, then we’re going to be behind as a city.”

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Digital Inclusion

Big Bucks for Broadband in the Balance: Explaining the Affordable, Accessible Internet for All Act

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Photo of now-Sen. Brian Schatz, one of the sponsors of the Accessible, Affordable Internet for All Act, from December 2010 by Kyle Nishioka used with permission

July 14, 2020 — Libraries have a unique opportunity to respond to the coronavirus and are well equipped to assist vulnerable populations, said participants in a Route Fifty webinar Tuesday.

Felton Thomas, executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library, said that his library played an important role in helping Cleveland to respond to the pandemic.

Their first step was developing face shields in-house for essential workers in the city.

“Public libraries were put in a position where due to COVID, we couldn’t fall back into our natural role,” he said. “So we had to look for other ways to provide our communities with what they needed.”

The Cleveland Public Library has leveraged its 3D printing technology to make about five thousand face shields, Thomas said. These masks have been given to hospitals and other essential industries to help assist with the shortage of personal protective equipment.

However, the process has not come without challenges, he added.

“One of the struggles is the fact that we need to start,” Thomas said. “As we start reopening our libraries, we need to start creating those face shields for our own staff.”

Thomas said that in the future, he and the Cleveland Public Library will look to other libraries, such as the Boston Public Library, that have been providing broadband access for members of the community.

“One of the things that they did was they recognized that folks who were in recovery weren’t being provided access,” he said. “So, they worked with their city folks to… provide hotspots for those community members.”

Eric Batista, director of the Office of Urban Innovation for the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, said that such innovations will be crucial in the future.

“This is the future,” he said. “The future of connectivity, the future of engagement is technology, and if they don’t want to prepare for the future, then we’re going to be behind as a city.”

Continue Reading

Digital Inclusion

FCC’s Low-Income Broadband Working Group Report Finally Receives Unanimous Approval

Jericho Casper

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Screenshot from the Broadband Deployment Advisory Committee meeting

July 14, 2020 — Libraries have a unique opportunity to respond to the coronavirus and are well equipped to assist vulnerable populations, said participants in a Route Fifty webinar Tuesday.

Felton Thomas, executive director and CEO of the Cleveland Public Library, said that his library played an important role in helping Cleveland to respond to the pandemic.

Their first step was developing face shields in-house for essential workers in the city.

“Public libraries were put in a position where due to COVID, we couldn’t fall back into our natural role,” he said. “So we had to look for other ways to provide our communities with what they needed.”

The Cleveland Public Library has leveraged its 3D printing technology to make about five thousand face shields, Thomas said. These masks have been given to hospitals and other essential industries to help assist with the shortage of personal protective equipment.

However, the process has not come without challenges, he added.

“One of the struggles is the fact that we need to start,” Thomas said. “As we start reopening our libraries, we need to start creating those face shields for our own staff.”

Thomas said that in the future, he and the Cleveland Public Library will look to other libraries, such as the Boston Public Library, that have been providing broadband access for members of the community.

“One of the things that they did was they recognized that folks who were in recovery weren’t being provided access,” he said. “So, they worked with their city folks to… provide hotspots for those community members.”

Eric Batista, director of the Office of Urban Innovation for the city of Worcester, Massachusetts, said that such innovations will be crucial in the future.

“This is the future,” he said. “The future of connectivity, the future of engagement is technology, and if they don’t want to prepare for the future, then we’re going to be behind as a city.”

Continue Reading

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