When schools and libraries around the country closed due to the COVID-19 pandemic, a librarian in Virginia found way to keep kids reading by delivering books via drone.
“As a school librarian, it is extremely important to me to have connections with my students,” Passek said in a video about her drone deliveries.
“How was I going to keep that connection with my students without actually being in the same physical space with them?” she said she asked herself.
Kelly Passek, a librarian at Blacksburg Middle School in Blacksburg, said she was using Wing, a drone delivery company under Google’s parent company Alphabet, to have essentials delivered to her home.
But it didn’t take her long to realize that the drones could actually deliver so much more than household items.
Drone delivered Library books went out for the first time EVER today! Go to https://t.co/PkodRSzfYH to see if you’re in the delivery area! We had some happy students from @CMSGoBlue @CburgPSPups @FBEFrogs @CHSBlueDemons sharing pics w us! @mcps_va @MarkMiear @BruinsBMS pic.twitter.com/dUZBJMfILo
— Kelly Passek (@KPassek) June 12, 2020
Passek pitched her idea of to using drones to deliver library books to students in Christiansburg’s Montgomery County Public Schools district to her superintendent and then to Wing, saying both were “immediately on board.”
The first book was delivered on June 11 as the school district became first in the world to offer a library book drone delivery service, a Wing spokesperson told CNN.
To order books, students who live in an eligible home can visit Wings’s website and fill out form. Students can choose from over 150,000 titles in the library’s catalog.
Passek then processes the requests, pulls the books off the shelf and brings them to Wing’s site. From there, 10-pound drones fly the books directly to students’ homes, lowering them to a person’s yard via a rope.
In April 2019, Wing became the first drone delivery company to receive an air carrier certification from the Federal Aviation Administration. In October, it began transporting FedEx and Walgreens packages to consumers in Christiansburg.