Video courtesy of WIAT CBS 42 Birmingham

June 15, 2020

Savannah Kitchens MLIS ’11, director of the Parnell Memorial Library in Montevallo, Alabama, is putting her staff’s sewing skills to use by making free face masks for anyone who needs them to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. They’ve given out more than 450 masks to the people of Montevallo.

Library staff plans to continue their mask-making mission for as long as they can, using donated materials. The library is now open for curbside pickup, but when staff isn’t working to fulfill requests for books, movies and activity kits, they do additional work to keep the community safe.

While patrons are not allowed in the library, Savannah said the library has been filled with the sounds of sewing machines at work.

“So many services that we offer, for all public libraries, have had to change—they look different now—because of COVID-19,” Savannah said. “But this is something that we could do where we get that instant reaction, that instant gratification from a patron. There was a need, and we could meet it. That’s what we do as librarians. That’s what makes us work, you know, that’s what keeps us going.”

Read more: Librarians in Montevallo making masks for the public