Wing, the drone company, said it had 18 book requests on the program's first day

By Rachel DeSantis
June 18, 2020 03:36 PM

With libraries shut down amid the coronavirus pandemic, one local librarian got creative and looked to the skies to ensure her students still had a book in hand.

Kelly Passek, a librarian at Blacksburg Middle School in Virginia, uses Wing, a drone delivery company under Google’s Alphabet, to have essentials delivered to her home, she told CBS News.

But it didn’t take her long to realize that the drones could actually deliver so much more than household items: they could deliver books directly to students who were now unable to go select ones themselves at the library.

“How was I going to keep that connection with my students without actually being in the same physical space with them?” she recalled thinking to CBS.

To get her idea off the ground, Passek turned to Montgomery County Public Schools Superintendent Mark Miear, who immediately got on board.

“We pride ourselves on finding innovative ways to serve our students. We are excited to continue our streak of innovation through this pilot program that brings library books to our students via drone delivery,” he said in a statement.

The program — the very first of its kind for a public school system — began last week on a limited trial basis in which students in eligible homes can choose a book from the library’s extensive catalogue to have delivered to their yard for free via drone, according to a release from Wing.

The company said there were 18 requests for books on the first day alone.

“I think kids are going to be just thrilled to learn that they are going to be the first in the world to receive a library book by drone,” Passek told the Washington Post.

Passek has stayed involved in the process too, as she fulfills requests that students fill out online, packs the books in delivery boxes, then drops them off at Wing for delivery, according to CBS News.

Wing began delivering household goods and meals from Walgreens and local restaurants to a limited area in southwest Virginia in October after receiving federal approval, the Post reported.