Warren Elementary School added a new vending machine, but it isn’t dispensing sugary drinks or salty snacks.
Thanks to efforts by the school’s librarian and family resource center coordinator, Warren Elementary students can now use their good behavior tokens to purchase books from the machine – the first of its kind in Warren County Public Schools.
Principal Jennifer Jenkins said the book vending machine, which features a custom design to showcase the school’s spirit, is part of a broader effort to build students’ literacy skills.
What’s more, because many of the school’s students are English learners, the machine offers a range of diverse titles. That includes classics like Eric Carle’s “The Very Hungry Caterpillar” to contemporary titles like “Skin Like Mine” by Latashia M. Perry.
“It’s a very exciting opportunity to put books in our kids’ hands who normally may not have that opportunity,” Jenkins told the Daily News.
The school held a ribbon-cutting Friday to unveil the vending machine and allow students to select their first books from it.
Kelsey Chapman, who coordinates the school’s family resource center, said she wanted to bring a book vending machine to Warren Elementary after seeing other schools in the region introduce their own with success.
“I thought about our school. … We are very diverse and a lot of our kids don’t have books at home,” Chapman said.
That prompted her to contact Global Vending Group, which provided the machine and its custom wrap.
The school’s family resource center purchased the machine with help from community donations, she said.
It took about six months to arrive at the school, Chapman said, but it was well worth the wait.
“We’re very excited to get it, and we’re hoping to keep the books diverse to represent our schools,” Chapman said.
Brandy Adams, the school’s librarian and media specialist, said the best part of the new program is that students get to keep the books for good.
About 50 books a month will be available for students, Adams said, meaning she’ll likely need some help keeping it stocked. Adams said anyone who’d like to donate books for students should contact her at Warren Elementary School.
“We want to give our students here at Warren Elementary every opportunity we can to get books in their hands,” Adams said.
– Follow education reporter Aaron Mudd on Twitter @NewsByAaron or visit bgdailynews.com.