We all love vending machines for providing us with yummy treats and refreshing beverages, but unlike those tasty snacks, the impact of a book vending machine is sure to last a lifetime. Book vending machines have started appearing in schools as a way to encourage children to read more. Teachers give students tokens for good behavior and acts of kindness. Jefferson County has followed their example by installing a children’s book vending machine in the lobby of their family court.
The Jefferson County’s Children’s Policy Cooperative (CPC) partnered with the University of Alabama at Birmingham (UAB) and state agencies to lead the project to help children read more and easily gain access to books. CPC Executive Director Shelly Mize comments:
“All of our children are not reading on grade level and it is prevalent in areas in high poverty and high need. While our family court does see children across all areas of the county, we see a lot of children out of high-need areas.”
The CPC intends to bridge the gap in reading levels by helping families build their at-home libraries and encouraging children to read outside of school. UAB professors assist in selecting books for the vending machine in addition to providing numerous family resources for reading.
Families are encouraged to apply now for a free token and bring their children in to select a book. The CPC’s goal is to give out 200 books a week to increase reading engagement throughout the community.