Alone in Charles Library: Makerspace Manager Takes Part in University-Wide Effort to Make PPE

About nine months ago, the new Charles Library opened on Temple Main Campus. This forward-thinking academic library in the heart of campus was a cause for much celebration, and it quickly became an integral hub for gathering and collaborating, study and research, creating and exploring. 

And then the COVID-19 pandemic hit. In mid-March, Temple made the decision to move all courses online and closed most university buildings. That included our brand new Charles Library.

photo of the empty Charles Library atrium

The empty Charles Library atrium

Charles Library is empty now of people, save for one: Makerspace Manager David Ross. In the Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio on the third floor of Charles Library, David is putting the 3D printers, laser cutters, and other equipment in our production-oriented facility to work.

David is part of a university-wide task force comprised of Temple faculty, staff, and students that assembled to answer the question: what can we do to help address the critical shortage of personal protective equipment (PPE) for medical professionals?

Named the Temple University COVID-19 Assistance Team (TUCAT), this cross-disciplinary effort began in March and is still ongoing. The team spans across the university, from the College of Engineering and College of Science and Technology to Tyler School of Art and Architecture to Temple Libraries, Temple Health, and the Office of the Vice President for Research. The team members are practicing social distancing and working separately to avoid any further spread. 

So what’s it like to be in Charles Library alone? David says it’s a bit lonely, though there are a few perks, including:

  • My own bathrooms (PLURAL)

  • Listening to Music or NPR super loud in a library!
  • Being asked to turn on computers, or get items for staff…So I get to walk through the office spaces and see coworkers’ desk personalities. Some of these are really fun— one person has an amazing LEGO set, a few have forests growing across their desks 
  • I have the pick of the litter for reading material and games and such—makes for nice breaks
  • I dance! I bet the security guards watching the video love seeing me act a fool

David demonstrating a completed face shield

David demonstrating a completed face shield

David’s primary focus in the Makerspace is creating face shields. In other spaces across campus, team members (who may or may not also be dancing while they work) are making other components, as well as assembling, cleaning, and packing the PPE for delivery. The team also donated a number of iPads and helped develop a system to remotely run the iPads in order to help doctors maintain social distancing.

While we aren’t the only organization employing our Makerspace to make PPE, the Temple task force made the early decision to take a faster and safer approach. The team determined that 3D printing the face shields themselves wasn’t feasible on a mass scale, because the process can be expensive, slow, and prone to error. 

Instead, David worked closely with Professor Tonia Hsieh from the Department of Biology and came up with the idea to use 3D printers to create molds, from which many face shields could then be quickly cast. What’s more, the material used for casting—a flexible resin—can be cleaned and reused, making it ideal for use in hospitals.

Photo of molds

Face shield molds


David pours material in shield molds

David pours material in shield molds

The Temple team has shared their unique process, including designs and molds, with universities and partners across Philadelphia and even Delaware, which according to David, turned the project “from a Temple effort to a Philadelphia effort.” The team has also created a how-to guide so that “this can grow from a Philly effort to an American effort to even a global effort,” David notes.

In reflecting on the experience, David says that “one of the best parts of this for me was being allowed to use new types of casting materials and learning new methods for making this process efficient.” He also notes Charles Library’s role as being a natural place for facilitating interdisciplinary collaboration and that “without cross-disciplinary work, the project would never have happened.”  

Extra Seating in Charles Library for Finals

We know that preparing for final exams and papers is stressful enough without having to worry about where to study. Head on over to Charles Library, which is open 24/7 starting December 5th at 8 a.m. For final exams, we’re also opening up more study spots and seating options. 

Check out the following rooms, which you are welcome to use any time they’re not booked (schedules are posted outside each room):

  • 113
  • 202
  • 210 (complete with desktop computers!)
  • 381
  • 401

We’re also setting up extra seats and tables in the first floor event space and throughout the building. And be on the lookout for the comfiest new option around—bean bag chairs! 

From all of us here at the Library, good luck with finals.

New Semester, New Look at the Libraries

Charles Library, photo by Betsy Manning for Temple University

Welcome to the fall 2019 semester! While Temple University Libraries has a new Main Campus building (Charles Library, heard of it??!) and a new website, we are committed as ever to getting you the materials, resources, and expert help you need as you start a new academic year at Temple!

First off, we hope you’ll stop by the new Charles Library building, where you’ll find a variety of specialized and flexible spaces. Explore all the cool things you can do in the new Loretta C. Duckworth Scholars Studio, including 3D printing and experimenting with virtual reality. Watch the BookBot in action, grab a snack at the new cafe, then stay up all night in the 24/7 study area. There’s so much more to this state-of-the-art building—come see us in person

If you want to learn more about Charles Library, we’ll be offering tours from 9:00 am–4:00 pm as well as a staffed info table the first two weeks of the semester. No need to register: just stop by and get to know your new library.

Once you’ve scoped out your syllabi, head over to our comprehensive Research Guides for each of your course subjects, as well as our How Do I…? guides for help with basic tasks and services. 

Or maybe you are looking for new ways to learn or spend an afternoon? Check out the Libraries’ Beyond the Page public programming series for a variety of free programs, concerts, workshops, and more, many of which will take place in Charles Library’s new event space

Here are a few more tips to help you start the new school year off right:

Libraries Launch New Website

On Monday, August 19, 2019, Temple University Libraries will launch a new website culminating two years of work and research. The timing of this launch is paired with the opening of the new Charles Library. This new environment serves to enhance discovery of library resources, and promote the use of services and amenities both online and within our walls. The last time the libraries’ website received a major overhaul was about seven years ago, in 2012.

An overarching goal of the website redesign and restructuring was to create a consistent look across all of our web platforms. Last summer, we launched our new Library Search as the first step in this process. Launching the new website on an open source and flexible platform is the second step. The new website will have a seamless integration with Library Search, and website content will be discoverable alongside book, article and database information.

We also continue to build out Library Search as we prepare for the changes to how users will navigate our collections. This will include the option to retrieve items from the BookBot and to browse our collections in the order that they would have appeared in the old stacks.

We sought to build a website that incorporated input and feedback from all of the communities that we serve. Over the course of the project, we conducted several in-person user-testing sessions with library patrons as they passed through the halls. We also did an online survey and looked at web analytics for our most popular pages.

A project of this scope has an impact that will reverberate throughout our community, and we are committed to persisting links to library resources. We thank you for your patience with this development, and we look forward to working with you into the future.

Farewell, Paley Library!

Saying goodbye to Paley, photo by Brae Howard

On May 9, the Libraries hosted a “Goodbye to Paley” open house. Paley has been the library’s home on Main Campus since 1966, and has meant so much to the Temple students, faculty, staff, community members, and visitors who have walked through its doors.

Library staff performs hits from 1966, photo by Brae Howard

Around 250 people joined us to celebrate, to reminisce, and to say goodbye to Paley. Our open house featured an SCRC photo exhibit, zinemaking station, video booth for sharing Paley memories, library furniture sale, live music, and more. Dean Joe Lucia also offered remarks on the history of Paley and the shifts we’ve seen in academic libraries since the 1960s, when Paley first opened. It was a fitting send off as we prepare to open a new 21st century library across the street.

At the end of the day, we officially closed Paley Library in order to begin the move to Charles Library. The move process will continue throughout the summer, as we work toward opening the new library for the fall semester in August.


Images of Paley Library from the SCRC, photo by Brae Howard

While Paley will no longer function as a library, the building will live on as “Samuel Paley Hall.” It will be the new home for the College of Public Health and will continue to house the Center for Academic Advising and Professional Development for the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Science and Technology.



While we will miss Paley dearly, we are excited about completing the move to Charles and opening the new state-of-the-art facility to the public.

Library furniture on sale, photo by Brae Howard

It’s Crunch Time: Take a Break with the Libraries!

The Libraries are once again offering our Crunch Time Café to help you refuel and relax as you prep for final exams. Our offerings are a bit different this year, as we prepare Paley for the move to Charles Library, so read on to see where you can find us.

Be on the lookout Tuesday, April 30 around late morning as we travel through Paley Library handing out snacks from our awesome library cart. High fives are most appreciated.

You can also stop by our table on the First Floor of Paley from 2:00-4:00 pm on Wednesday, May 1 and 9:00–11:00 am on Monday, May 6 for snacks and to share your favorite memories of Paley in our video booth.

And don’t worry—we didn’t forget the therapy dogs! We’re partnering this year with the Wellness Resource Center to bring Destress with Dogs to the Student Center 217A on Thursday, May 2 from 11:30 am–2:30 pm.

Need research help?

Chat, text, email, or make an appointment with a subject librarian at  

And to make your studying easier

Paley Library is open 24/7 from 8:00 AM on Thursday, April 25 through Tuesday, May 7. You can also book study spaces ahead of time at

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Short Story Dispenser on Campus

a student uses the short story dispenser

photo by Brae Howard

Last week, the Libraries unveiled our very first Short Édition short story dispenser in the Student Center. With just the push of a button, the dispenser prints a free short story or poem just for you.

Short Édition is a French publishing house of short literature: poetry, short stories, and flash fiction. In addition to their online platform, they publish fiction around the world via their Short Story Dispensers for the public to enjoy a serendipitous literary experience.

Our dispenser features a “Local Fiction” button, which prints out a story written by a member of Temple community or the Philadelphia writing community. The “International Fiction” button dispenses stories from around the world.

photograph of Laura Bates, one of the contest runners up

Laura Bates reads her story, photo by Brae Howard

In conjunction with our dispenser launch, we also held our first creative writing contest. The theme of the contest was “transformation,” and the winners (listed below) joined us at the launch party to read their winning submissions.




Juried Winner
Catherine Averill, “Something to Save”

Juried Runners-up
Laura Bates, “The Sunshine State”
Nicholas Perilli, “Chimera”

Public Winner
Sean Mac Donald, “There is Change”

Be sure to stop by the Student Center (South Lobby, First Floor) to try out the machine and pick up your own story. Follow our social media accounts for future contest announcements:
@TempleLibraries      tulibraries      Temple University Libraries

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It’s National Library Week!

Celebrate National Library Week with us! Sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April, National Library Week is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation’s libraries and librarians in transforming lives and strengthening communities.

At Paley, we’ll be tabling outside (if weather permits!) and there will be snacks, swag, and photo booth opportunities. Stop by and talk to us about the Libraries!

Library Table Hours at Paley:
Monday, April 8, 12:00–2:00 pm
Wednesday, April 10, 1:00–3:00 pm

We’re also teaming up with the Office of Sustainability for Campus Sustainability Week, so check out their Surplus Pop-up outside Paley on Monday.

Finally, make sure to follow us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram to see how we are celebrating in real time. Tag us and #NationalLibraryWeek to join the conversation.

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Wikipedia Edit-a-thon: Improving Content on Cis and Trans Women, the Arts, and Feminism

Did you know that, according to a Wikimedia Foundation 2011 study, less than 10% of the editors on Wikipedia are women? When women aren’t represented in the writing and editing of the stories and records of people, the stories get mistold. We lose out on the real history.

Join us next Tuesday, March 19 from 10:00 am to 5:30 pm for the sixth annual (and Temple University Libraries’ fourth!) Art+Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-thon, a global project improving content on cis and trans women, the arts, and feminism on Wikipedia.

We will provide tutorials for the beginner Wikipedian, reference materials, and refreshments, and invite people of all gender identities and expressions to participate, particularly transgender and cisgender women. We hope you’ll also join us in the evening for a panel discussion on the intersection of art, feminism, technology, and history.

We’re holding the event in the lobby of the Tyler School of Art and the schedule is outlined below:

Registration at 10:00 AM

Training sessions at 10:30 AM and 1:30 PM

Panel at 6:00 PM (in the Architecture Building, Room 104)

Registration is encouraged and please BYO laptop!

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Deadline approaching! Apply for Livingstone Undergraduate Research Awards by 2/18

logo for Livingstone Undergraduate Research AwardsAttention undergrads!

Have a research project you worked on for a Temple course between spring 2018 and now? Why not turn all that hard work into a prestigious award? But don’t delay—you only have until next Monday, February 18 to apply to the Libraries’ Livingstone Undergraduate Research Awards.

These Awards honor the best in Temple undergraduate research, and categories include the humanities, social sciences, STEM disciplines, creative works and media production, diversity and social justice, and general education courses. Plus, there are cash prizes of up to $1,000 for winners in each category.

We are accepting online applications for the Awards through February 18th, 2019 at 11:59 pm. Send us your best work!

Please contact with any questions.



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