Tuesday, May 21, 2024

Google-backed Wing drone service will deliver library books to children

Schools and libraries have been closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but there is finally a small bright spot for the children who love reading books. Kelly Passek, a librarian for the Montgomery County School District, Virginia, came up with the idea of sending out library books using drones to encourage more children to read while following social distancing.

Wing, a company owned by Alphabet, will start delivering books to the students this week in the city of Christiansburg, Virginia.

The idea came from Kelly Passek, who thought drones would be a great way to get more kids to read during the summer months while schools are closed and public libraries remain closed. Alphabet-owned Wing has accepted and recently started adding library books to its test drone delivery service.

Libraries are the only way some students can access books – e-readers may be too expensive for some families, and buying books online isn’t cheap either. Having some sort of library book delivery service is essential to ensure that children continue to have access to books. As the blog post notes, there are currently 600 district students in Google’s delivery area who can take advantage of this service.

The librarian is doing much of the work herself, including handling students’ online book requests, picking up the book in a local library, packing and transporting it to Wing’s drone facility for its flight to the home of the student. Oh, and if you’re wondering how the books will be returned, they will not have to return books until school starts again in the fall.

Passek said, “The MCPS-Wing partnership allows us the 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.

We pride ourselves on finding innovative ways to serve our students,” MCPS Superintendent Mark 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.