American libraries go outside the box for service

Before the COVID-19 pandemic, students at Montgomery County Public Schools (MCPS) in Christiansburg, Virginia, got books from their school library shelves. Now they’re getting them from the sky.

Thanks to an idea from MCPS middle school librarian Kelly Passek and a partnership with Wing, the first commercial drone delivery service in the US, any student in the district who lives within Wing’s delivery zone can request a book through the school system’s library catalog. Passek locates the book, checks it out, and drives it to the Wing facility, where it is dispatched via drone to the student’s home.

As the pandemic continues to make indoor library visits difficult for many (and impossible for some), Passek is just one of many librarians across the country who have turned to the outdoors as a means of putting books in the hands of readers.

“We’re not concerned with getting the books back right now—we just want [students] to read as much as they can possibly read,” Passek says.

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