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Vending machine dispenses books, spreads kindness

Posted: 7:32 AM, Jan 15, 2020
Updated: 2020-01-16 05:02:57-05

OWASSO, Okla. — A vending machine at an Owasso elementary school dispenses books to promote literacy and spread kindness.

When you use a vending machine, you expect to get a soda or a bag of chips. But what about a book?

That’s exactly what students at Northeast Elementary in Owasso get when they use the new vending machine in their library. But it costs a little more than money.

Fourth grader Anderson Rogers said, “We all get free books if we do an act of kindness.”

Amanda, the librarian, said that could be anything like from risk-taking to helping out a friend to helping out a teacher to playing with somebody new on the playground.

She got the idea from a Facebook post from another Oklahoma school.

Fifth grader Cooper Stockley explained, “If you do an act of random kindness, someone writes your name on a note and what you did. They put it in for a drawing. Someone draws the ticket out and you get a free coin to put in the vending machine.”

The librarian added, “We really wanted to marry being kind and good citizens with lifelong learning and reading.”

Unlike the books on the shelves that students can check out, books out of the vending machine are theirs to keep, to start their own library at home.

Rogers said, “It’s really cool because not many kids can get books every year from the book fair.”

The school held an art contest to decide which works of art would be displayed on the machine. Social media users voted on the on the top 3 designs.

Rogers, Stockley and third grader Zeydan Odum’s designs were selected.

Amanda said, “Everybody has a piece, whether they designed it or voted on what they were going to see on this machine.”

And as fun as getting a book out of a vending machine is, the message is not lost on students at northeast.

Rogers said, “My goal is to get more acts of kindness so I can try to get more books to read.”

When asked why it’s important to be kind to people in general, Odum answered, “Because it is healthy for the world. So, people might not be kind and so you want to be there for other people to be kind.”

The students held a fundraiser back in October and raised more than $16,000 for the machine. They also got some help from sponsors and donors.

Not only is it a creative way to promoting literacy; school officials hope it cuts down on bullying.

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