As masks have become commonplace in Williamson County and with school about to begin, some community members have come up with creative ways to help students and teachers connect by way of faces on buttons.
The most obvious of the new school year fashion is the addition of cloth masks to help reduce the spread of germs, but with masks comes the loss of human connection in schools where that connection is an important part of growing up.
Now some Brentwood Library employees have joined Brentwood Library Adult Program Coordinator Brigid Day, who started the project on her own, with constructing buttons for teachers to wear with images of their school portraits so that the young students will be able to connect with their new teachers.
"It was important to me to make it as easy as possible on them," Day said. "They've got other stuff to be doing, this is something that we can do to help them and help the kids. "No matter what, their hearts are in it and they're there to do the very best job that they can."
So far Day and her team have produced hundreds of buttons with hard work and a simple button maker for schools, including Lipscomb Elementary, Creekside Elementary and Brentwood Middle School counselors.
"Lipscomb is very grateful that Brigid Day and the John P. Holt Brentwood Library reached out with this special button project for our school. Now our students will be able to see our teachers' smiling faces that are out of sight behind the masks," Lipscomb Elementary School Principal Michelle Contich said in an email. "We are all looking for creative ways to help our students feel connected and supported at Lipscomb and this button project is one personal way to show our students how happy we are to see them while keeping them safe."
Day uses printed photos of teachers along with her trusty 1978 Badge-A-Minit Button Maker, which as the name states, is able to produce about one 2 1/4 inch button every 60 seconds, all of which is done by hand.
Day has a long history making buttons, beginning with making political campaign buttons as a child with her dad in Illinois, and now she's getting help coworkers and from her own son for a new cause.
Day said that she first put out the idea in the We Love Williamson County Schools Facebook group and as the interest grew she was able to get support from library staff in tackling the growing demand.
"Through the library we have the Brentwood School’s Committee and we try to support them in any way that we can with the school librarians and public librarians," Day said. "We were like, what can we do to help?' and then once the teachers would see them and were appreciative, and say, 'Oh, my God, my kids are going to love this, I love this,' that's when I though this is something that the library can work on and fulfill our schools partnership."