Kristin Swetland: Valley Library Experience and Access Department

Years at OSU: 14 years as an employee, three as a student

City of residence: Corvallis

Kristin Swetland runs the Valley Library’s 3D printing program, so when COVID-19 hit and she was asked to shift gears from student projects to medical items, she immediately agreed. Early in the outbreak, she was contacted by Neftali Pizano, director of Primary Care Operations – Albany for Samaritan Health Services. He asked Swetland if she was willing to print some 3D masks for his staff.

“I answered with an enthusiastic ‘Yes’” Swetland said.

Unlike the masks many people are sewing to use for additional protection from the coronavirus, the masks Swetland is making are hard plastic and rounded like small bowls, with a place for a filter in front. The first mask was a design that was printed flat, and then heated with a hair dryer until it was flexible and able to be bent into the shape of the wearer’s face. While that design worked, it took a lot of post-production effort. Then Swetland found a different design that was pre-shaped. She gave the prototype to Pizano, who worked with his team to make sure they were useable for medical personnel.

With the right design selected, Swetland and her two student workers got to work producing masks. Swetland is currently working remotely, so she is in charge of communicating with Samaritan on the project and preparing files for print, while her students do the actual printing at the library. Each masks takes about three and a half hours to print. So far they’ve printed 75 masks.

“The project is great because it makes us all feel like we are making a valuable contribution,” Swetland said.

Swetland has another 3D printer at home and uses it for 3D printing requests from the OSU community, leaving the printers at the library available for mask printing. She misses her role at the Information Desk, but is answering questions remotely via chat and email. It’s one of many ways the library has shifted gears during the COVID-19 outbreak. Swetland hopes that library patrons recognize the wide array of offerings available to them despite the barriers that have arisen recently.

“The library had to make drastic changes to our service delivery very quickly. Most notable are the group getting course reserves out,” she said. “They have had to buy electronic copies of textbooks or scan textbooks to make them available to students. They have moved so quickly getting resources to instructors and students. I am so impressed. Another service that is making a big impact on student learning is the long-term loaning of laptops. My coworkers have been mailing laptops to students in need for the past few weeks.  So many people have done so much, I just won't be able to think of it all.”

For more information on Valley Library 3D printing:

~ Theresa Hogue

Have an OSU Unsung Hero suggestion? We are looking for submissions that highlight OSU employees and students who are not typically in the spotlight but are going above and beyond during this pandemic. Send your suggestions to [email protected] and our staff may contact them to conduct remote interviews that we would feature in OSU Today and elsewhere.