It’s A Bird! It’s A Plane! It’s A Book? A Librarian's Idea To Get Books To Students Takes Flight
With libraries and schools closed due to coronavirus, watch how she's making sure her students keep reading and learning.
We've heard of drones delivering time-sensitive packages, medicine – a Domino's Pizza in New Zealand even dropped off a pizza via drone a few years back.
Now, the airborne technology is being used to shuttle books, thanks to a middle school librarian in Montgomery County, VA.
When Covid-19 forced libraries and schools to close across the country, librarian Kelly Passek was worried that the students at her school weren't going to be able to get the resources they needed to continue their studies.
Passek was already using a local drone delivery service called Wing to get fresh pastries and home essentials, so she came up with the idea of using the same service to delivery library books to families in the area who've been sheltering-in-place.
Wing quickly signed on, and a limited trial started last week to serve students in Christiansburg, VA. Students in the district can request any book from the library's online catalog of over 150,000 titles, and have it delivered to their yard for free.
"Access to school library resources is essential for the success of our students," Passek said in a statement. "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."
Here's the first person in the world to receive a library book delivered by drone in Christiansberg, VA. Wing
Wing was started in 2012 and is the first airline to receive a Part 135 certificate, which means they can operate commercially and deliver products like local food, drugstore items, and now library books, to consumers.
Tens of thousands of people have already used Wing in the U.S., Australia and Finland, and the company is expanding quickly. Passek's idea of delivering library books was a perfect fit for the company, who is constantly looking for new ways to use the delivery service.
Wing has conducted over 100,000 flights across three continents. Wing
The library-book-delivery concept was especially appealing to Keith Heyde, Wing's representative in Virginia, whose mother is also a nurturer of young minds.
"My mom, also an elementary school librarian, always taught me to appreciate the library and reading at a young age," Heyde said. "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."
Wing's drones can be used to delivery everything from drugstore items to pastries. Wing
As for Passek, she hopes the service will keep her students reading throughout the summer, even as coronavirus restrictions begin to lift.
"I'm hoping that we get our students that are already readers and students who are thinking it's going to be really excellent to get books delivered by drone," she said.
Thanks to Passek, students in her school district can keep reading all summer long! Kelly Passek/Facebook
We love stories of folks working together to come up with creative solutions to problems. Kudos to Passek for making the connections and putting her plan into action!