Free Masks at the Main Library

Mask Drive Station

The Library is now home to a community mask station provided by Bloomington Mask Drive! Located in the vestibule of the Main Library, the self-serve station is stocked with free masks for adults and children and can be accessed during Library hours.

Wearing a face mask is one of the simplest, most effective ways to slow the spread of COVID-19 and face coverings are required on Library premises. The Library is delighted to partner with Bloomington Mask Drive to offer free masks to the community and further its goal to provide a self and welcoming place for all.

Bloomington Mask Drive was founded by Kelly Clark and Nola Hartman, a former MCPL Librarian, with the mission to slow the spread of COVID-19 by providing clean, high-quality, homemade fabric masks to residents of Bloomington and Monroe County free of charge.

“Nola has told me many times that she feels that the Library is the heart of a community. So we are extremely excited to be back here and to have the Library's support,” said Clark.

The Library’s mask station is the fifth of its kind, and the first located in downtown Bloomington. It was constructed locally, free-of-charge, by Zolt Levay. The station is stocked with three types of masks: type A with extra protection for at-risk individuals, type B breathable masks, and type C sized for children 2–8 years old. Distributed in sets of two, masks are double layered and pleated to provide a close fit. Masks are washed, sorted, and quality-controlled using protocols developed by trained medical professionals, and using clean handling procedures.

Since the project began in March, the Bloomington Mask Drive has recruited over 350 volunteers and distributed more than 30,000 masks! One volunteer, Valerie Merriman, a former member of the Library Board of Trustees, has contributed hugely to these efforts. Through her unique connections, Merriman procured mask materials such as elastic and interface fabric that were difficult to find locally.

“I was able to search across the country and find a place in Missouri that had materials,” Merriman said. “We’ve been able to get all these materials wholesale, which has made all of the difference since we don’t charge for masks and rely on donations.”

Merriman is on a short list of mask drive volunteers who made over 1,000 masks individually. More than 1,200 by her count, actually. “I’ve been keeping track of my empty spools of thread and bolts of fabric. But it’s a labor of love, because it’s so needed.”

As more Bloomington Mask Drive stations are installed around Bloomington, the demand for masks increases. Visit BloomingtonMaskDrive.com to learn more about the organization, including how to become a volunteer!