School Librarian Delivers Books by Drone for Summer Reading
- By Dian Schaffhauser
librarian at Montgomery
County Public Schools
has introduced book delivery services via drone, to keep kids reading
during the summer. Librarian Kelly Passek, a Blacksburg Middle School
librarian, pitched district leaders on the idea as a response to
school closures related to COVID-19.
she told reporters,
she considers "free choice reading," the reading students
do for themselves, "so important to the success of our students,
both academically and in life in general. If we can get library
resources into their hands, we can help them stay on a path to
idea grew out of Passek's own use of a drone delivery services in
Christianburg, VA, her community. In 2019 a company called Wing
received Federal Aviation Administration permission to make air
deliveries to homes in the Christianburg area. Wing, a company within
Alphabet (the firm behind Google), struck deals with local businesses
to deliver health products, food and beverages. Passek, an early fan
of the service, eventually pitched the book delivery idea to Wing,
which responded that they were "on board."
company had already reached out to the school system, hosting field
trips for high school and middle school students and making donations
to the high schools, to enable them to purchase drone equipment and
drones are about 10 pounds and can carry up to three pounds of goods.
Students order the books via a Google Form, then Passek places them
into a cardboard container with a handle and delivers those
containers to Wing's delivery facility. From there, the packages are
hooked onto the drone via a tether or cord. The drone climbs to a
height of about 150 feet, flies to the destination, slows, hovers and
drops to an altitude of about 23 feet at the delivery address. The
drone lowers the tether and automatically releases the package into
the yard (either front or back), reels in the tether, climbs back to
"cruise height" and returns to the Wing site.
have been told to hang onto their books until the new school year
begins and they can return them in person.
pride ourselves on finding innovative ways to serve our students,"
said district Superintendent Mark Miear, in a statement. "We are
excited to continue our streak of innovation through this pilot
program that brings library books to our students via drone
Dian Schaffhauser is a former senior contributing editor for 1105 Media's education publications THE Journal, Campus Technology and Spaces4Learning.