Waterloo library's button project helps show faces behind masks

The Waterloo Public Library has launched a button project to put pictures of people's faces on buttons so teachers and child care workers can show young people what they look like without a mask on.

'Hopefully it will make some people's days just a little bit brighter,' says Anjana Kipfer

Anjana Kipfer of the Waterloo Public Library demonstrates what the button project is all about: The library will put a picture of a person's face on a button so they can wear it at work and people can see what they look like without a mask. The project is currently for educators, child care workers, staff at long-term care facilities and other caregivers. (Anjana Kipfer/Waterloo Public Library)

A new project is helping people see the faces of educators and child care workers who have to wear masks to curb the spread of COVID-19 while at work.

The Waterloo Public Library launched the button project.

Teachers, caregivers, long-term care home staff and child care workers can send in a photo of themselves and the library will put it on a button for free, which the person can wear at work.

Anjana Kipfer is the manager of marketing and communications at the library. She says they were inspired to start the project by the London Public Library, which did a similar project.

She says it's a "small token of appreciation" for people who have been working hard during the pandemic. The library already had a button maker, so it made sense.

"I think it's a nice little pick-me-up," she said. "For kids who are going into school for the first time in ... six months, it's nice to see a smiling face. So that's what this is representing for us. Some smiles, some hope and hopefully it will make some people's days just a little bit brighter."

She says they have capacity to make "hundreds and hundred" of buttons. She adds they'll respond to requests as quickly as possible and the wait depends on the demand.

Kipfer says the library is working on other fall projects to help educators, including virtual daytime author events that classes can stream online, curated books and materials for families and educators by request and personalized reading recommendations done by virtual appointments.


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