Drones deliver books to kids stuck at home because of COVID-19
A middle school librarian convinced Alphabet subsidiary Wing to deliver books to kids in a Virginia town
Librarian Kelly Passek
With the COVID-19 pandemic shuttering schools, libraries, and summer camps across the United States, kids have been experimenting with new ways to learn. Schools have switched over to online education and virtual camps have come up as a pretty interesting alternative to traditional summer camps.
But those who like nothing more than burying their heads in a good book are still struggling to grab their favorite titles from the school library, since worried parents want their children to stay at home as much as possible. This prompted a concerned librarian in Virginia to find a way around the conundrum. And she did so – with the help of drones!
Kelly Passek, who works for the Montgomery County Public Schools, has convinced Alphabet subsidiary Wing to deliver library books to kids in Christiansburg, Va., using drones.
Wing is an autonomous delivery drone service that has been operational for commercial deliveries in Virginia since late 2019. And Kelly was one of the first customers in Christiansburg to get fresh pastries and home essentials home-delivered by a Wing drone. Now, thanks to her novel initiative, more than 600 families of Montgomery County Public School students can request any book from the library’s catalog of over 150,000 titles and get it delivered by a drone to their yard for free.
Since the service has started on a limited trial basis, students will first need to check if their home is within the eligible delivery zone. But all they need to do is fill out an online form on their school’s website. To ensure seamlessness, all the requests are processed by Kelly herself. She pulls the books off the shelves and brings them to Wing’s delivery site. From there, a drone takes the requested titles directly to the students’ homes.
Watch the following video to get a better idea of how the service works:
“Access to school library resources is essential for the success of our students,” Kelly points out. “This partnership with Wing 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.”
Wing received 18 requests on its first day of library deliveries. They even shared the photo of the first recipient:
The recipient of the first library book delivered by drone poses in Christiansburg, VA
Wing’s Virginia site lead Keith Heyde says he couldn’t be prouder to be a part of this first-of-its-kind pilot program. “My mom, also an elementary school librarian, always taught me to appreciate the library and reading at a young age,” Keith quips, adding that the team got on board as soon as they heard the idea. “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.”
Ishveena is an independent journalist and writer with a passion for drones and location technologies. In the last 12 years, she has worked with both mainstream media organizations (Miami Herald International, Times of India, Microsoft MSN) and dedicated geospatial technology media (Geospatial World, Geoawesomeness). With a deep understanding of content marketing and social media, Ishveena also helps private companies (DJI, Terra Drone Corporation) to generate qualified leads through useful and timely content. When she is not making magic at her desk, you are likely to find her on road trips, eating her way through life, or binge-watching TV shows. Connect with Ishveena on LinkedIn and Twitter