Summer reading from the sky: Google-backed drone startup Wing delivers library books so kids in Virginia can keep reading during the summer
The deadly coronavirus has forced thousands of schools and public libraries to close across the United States. However, the pandemic has not stopped some librarians from coming up with creative ways to help kids read during summer. A middle school librarian in Christianburg, Virginia has found a great way to get kids excited about reading by using drone to deliver library books, free of charge.
Kelly Passek, a middle school librarian in Virginia’s Montgomery County School District, is one of the early adopter for drone delivery of household goods and meals by Wing, a Google spinoff startup. According to Washington Post, Passek petitioned Wing to take on library books after seeing how quickly her household goods and meals were delivered. She thinks the new drone technology could benefit the children in her district.
“I think kids are going to be just thrilled to learn that they are going to be the first in the world to receive a library book by drone,” Passek told the Washington Post. Passek said as of Monday books had already been delivered to 36 families in Christiansburg since deliveries started last Thursday. The students are expected to return the books when the new school year begins.
Commenting on the service, Wing Marketing and Communications Associate Jacob Demmitt said the school district is the first in the world to make books available to students by drone. “We’re really excited to partner with Montgomery County Public Schools,” Demmitt said.
“Students request books through a form that the school put together. After they request, Kelly works with the students to figure out which books to get and she pulls the books off the shelf. She brings them to Wing and then we deliver them directly to the students homes,” Demmitt added.
“Free choice reading, reading students choose to do on their own, is extremely important to academic success and then to life success. So anytime we can get books into the hands of our students, that’s a success for us,” Passek said.
Wing is a Google-backed drone startup that is developing an unmanned traffic management platform that will allow unmanned aircraft to navigate around other drones, manned aircraft, and other obstacles like trees, buildings and power lines.