Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, schools and public libraries are closed across the country but a librarian in Virginia has come up with a clever way to keep kids reading for free. Drones will deliver books of their choice and straight to their doors.
Kelly Passek is a middle school librarian in Virginia’s Montgomery County School District. She has been a believer in drone delivery service for household goods in her town of Christiansburg. This was launched by a Google spin-off company known as Wing. The pilot project has been delivering her meals and household items for quite some time now.
It didn’t take long for Kelly to put 2 and 2 together and find out this technology could help the children in her district.
She told the Washington Post that these kids are going to be thrilled to learn they are going to be the first in the world to receive their library books by drones.
Commercial drone delivery has been on the horizon for quite a few years now with Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon, demonstrating a prototype in 2013 at a ‘60 Minutes review. There are a few projects that have been launched around the world including in 2016 when Domino’s started using drones to deliver pizzas in a New Zealand town.
Wing is the first drone delivery company to receive an air operator’s certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Allowing it to operate in the US and has been delivering packages weighing up to 3 pounds in Virginia since 2019 as well as operating in Helsinki, Finland, and 2 cities in Australian. The best news yet, this service out of Virginia will be the first to spread knowledge and increasing access to educational resources.
It’s quite easy to understand how this could be so helpful in the future for citizens who live far away from a public library, and beyond the days of COVID-19 restrictions. This could also be great for those who live nearby libraries but possibly do not have transportation or just enjoy the convenience.
Keith Heyede is the Wing’s head of Virginia operations and has a soft spot for this project because his mother is a librarian. As of this week, the company will start delivering books to students in the Montgomery County School District who live within the Christiansburg delivery area. The service will be made available to approximately 600 students. They will have plenty of time to enjoy their books as the books will not need to be returned until the fall when school starts.
Kelly is hoping that the novelty of drone delivery will help more kids become excited about reading. She’s hoping that teachers can engage students that are already readers and students who are thinking this could be a really excellent way to get books delivered by drones.