Access to digital books is so simple, but there’s something unique about physically holding a book when you’re reading, isn’t there?
One Virginia librarian knows the feeling.
Kelly Passek, a librarian at Blacksburg Middle School in Virginia, realized drones could deliver more than just household items, after receiving an order of essentials from Wing, a company owned by Alphabet Inc.
In case you haven’t heard of Alphabet before, it is actually the parent company of Google, which came after a restructuring of the company, according to CNN.
Passek wanted to find a way to deliver books directly to students who, because of the COVID-19 pandemic shutdowns, could not pick one out for themselves, in person, at the library, according to a blog on the company’s website.
Drones seemed like the perfect the way to do it.
Passek reached out to the Montgomery County Public Schools superintendent, Mike Miear, who immediately got on board with the idea.
Then, Passek petitioned the company to take on library books, as well. The company quickly agreed.
“Access to school library resources is essential for the success of our students,” Passek said. “The MCPS-Wing partnership allows us the most unique way to continue to provide that access so that our students are able to stay engaged with independent reading and continue on their path of success even during this time of social distancing.”
Service began June 11, with the hopes that students in the area would continue reading during the extended out-of-school time.
Eligible families in the area could make a request from the library’s catalog of more than 150,000 titles. The selected books were then expected to be delivered by drone to the student’s yard for free.
“We pride ourselves on finding innovative ways to serve our students,” Miear said. “We are excited to continue our streak of innovation through this pilot program that brings library books to our students via drone delivery.”
“My mom, also an elementary school librarian, always taught me to appreciate the library and reading at a young age,” Wing’s Virginia site lead Keith Heyde said on the company’s blog. “Our system is designed to deliver small packages directly to homes through the air. We’ve always believed that the communities we serve would tell us what they need us to put in those packages, and this is a great example of that.”
This story was first published in 2020. It has since been updated.