Related: New vending machines showing up in schools drop booksStaff at Northeast Elementary is putting a new spin on reading.
A team of teachers and other personnel unveiled a new book vending machine in the school’s library on Monday, Jan. 6, for students to use throughout the year.
The device — the first of its kind at Owasso Public Schools — serves as a typical vending machine, but dispenses glossy hardcovers rather than sugary snacks.
Library Media Specialist Amanda Stahl got the idea to bring the machine to Northeast after seeing the concept promoted on social media, and rallied the help of her colleagues to make it a reality.
“We want our students to be lifelong readers and learners and consumers of information,” Stahl said. “We’re trying to figure out ways that we can bring the kids into the library, even the ones who don’t typically come on a regular basis to check out books.”
The machine, provided by Vending.com, features around 360 fiction and nonfiction titles for students in pre-K through fifth grade to dispense and keep.
Students can “purchase” a book with tokens that they earn for different acts of kindness. They are nominated by other students or staff who take notice of their generosity, and Stahl keeps a log of their progress.
“Whether they be a buddy to somebody on the playground, or if they are kind and helpful in the classroom, if they try something new for the first time … anything that they felt show things to be good character, they can be nominated,” Stahl said.
Northeast held a contest allowing students to decorate the machine after it arrived. The school posted the top 10 designs on its Facebook page, and the top three with the most likes were named the winners.
Anderson Rogers designed the “Wonder” side, Cooper Stockley created the “Supa Power” front and Zeydan Surrell drafted the “Rams” side.
“All three of those designs are currently on the machine,” Stahl said. “Now all the kids are coming in to see what their friends did and to see their artwork displayed on something large like that; it’s pretty cool.”
Northeast Principal Michelle Million said she’s looking forward to seeing students benefit from the machine, rousing their love for reading and encouraging their fellow classmates.
“Obviously it’s very exciting for our school. The novelty of having something new in our library is great,” Million said. “I think this is just one more way that we’re building our community and family here.”
The book vending machine was purchased from funds raised by the school’s cookie dough fundraiser last semester, which brought in over $6,000. The books inside, as well as future titles, are funded in part through the Jim Glover Auto Group and the school’s book fair earnings.