Russellville's book vending machines draw statewide attention
By Penni Nugent

Posted on December 19, 2019 10:09 PM


On Tuesday, Dec. 17, Matt McCarty, Creative Services Manager with Kentucky School Boards Association (KSBA), visited Russellville Independent Schools and spoke with Mindy Key, Community Outreach Coordinator, with Russellville READs in hopes of getting information regarding the Inchy Bookworm Vending Machines that have been placed in Stevenson Elementary and Russellville High School.

McCarty met at length with Mrs. Key, Superintendent Bart Flener, and SES Library Assistant Sherry Garner, to gather details for a perspective article regarding how RISD closely collaborated with Global Vending Machine Group of Buffalo, N.Y., to create the first-in-Kentucky exclusive book vending machine modeled after the school’s design. 

GVG is the only company in the world to supply this product.

Key said, “We are honored that KSBA came to RISD to spotlight our Vending machines as well as the great work occurring through our Russellville READs grant.”

The Stevenson Elementary Inchy Bookworm Vending Machine Ribbon Cutting was held in late September to unveil the state-of-the-art book vending machines that rolled out to the Russellville Independent School District schools for students to use.  For many months, Key had passionately pursued this new trailblazing technology.

“We want books in every student’s hands,” she said. 

Stevenson houses its own machine in the walkway before entering the library, and Russellville Middle School and High School share a machine in the cafeteria

The vending machine caught nation-wide attention in January, having its own segment and article on ABC’s Good Morning America.

Key also collaborated with Scholastic Corporation to obtain a large collection of books that are based on the dimensions of the machine. This collaboration secured a strong likelihood that every student will be able to find a book they like in the book vending machines.

Vending machines operate off customizable tokens. Students can earn these tokens as an incentive for meeting Accelerated Reading goals. The student uses the token to make a free purchase from the book vending machine. The books are theirs to keep or to pass on to others who might not have their own home libraries. 

It’s a non-traditional approach to literacy but targets students in the best way possible. It takes appliances that would normally give young people sugary snacks and drinks and replaces it with food for the mind: literature.

The Russellville Independent Schools District is committed to adapting to students' needs, and this is one of our best cases to date. It’s a more appealing approach to students who groan at the name “library.” This promotes engagement in reading and does it in a fun way.

Last year, every student in the district received 10 free books and more through the Book Club. This year, every student in the district has access to a book vending machine. Reading is a stepping stone towards intellectual growth and is what will improve overall reading efficiency, and much more.

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