Google‘s new drone delivery service Wing will help bring library books to school children in Christiansburg, Virginia to help make up for the city’s library closures during the COVID-19 pandemic.
The new initiative is being overseen by Kelly Passek, a librarian for Montgomery County Public Schools, who first pitched the idea to Wing.
Students in Christiansburg can submit a request for books in the school district’s library system and Passek will pull the book from the stacks and send it out in one of Wing’s custom delivery containers.
‘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 initially got the idea after wondering about how the 600-plus students in the school district were fairing after the county closed school campuses and libraries.
Passek was a Wing customer and periodically used the service, which operates with Walgreen’s, and a number of other local businesses and restaurants to make home deliveries.
The idea appealed to Keith Heyde, who runs Wing’s Virginia program, in large part because his mother had worked as a librarian when he was growing up.
Wing launched its drone delivery program in Christiansnburg in 2019, the first of its kind in the US, with approval to deliver pharmaceuticals, groceries, take out orders from restaurants, and other small household items.
The delivery service has become a staple for many town residents during the COVID-19 pandemic, with the company reporting an average of more than 1,000 deliveries every two weeks in the city.
Christiansburg’s schools are scheduled to remain closed at least until the fall semester, and Passek hopes that even those students who aren’t big readers could be inspired to check out a book just for the novelty of getting one by drone.
‘I’m hoping that we get our students that are already readers and students who are thinking its going to be really excellent to get books delivered by drone,’ Passek said.