Roxboro Elementary installs unique vending machine

Roxboro Elementary students make their selections from the new vending machine.

Many schools across the country have been phasing out vending machines in the interest of student health. But Roxboro Elementary School has just installed one.

This is no ordinary vending machine, however. Instead of soft drinks and chips, it is stocked with books. 

D&S Vending, located in downtown Cleveland, refurbishes old vending machines for unique purposes. The Roxboro PTA paid for the custom machine and an initial set of books to fill it, taking advantage of the discount earned as a result of using Mac’s Backs - Books on Coventry for the school’s book fair. The PTA also received a  grant of $600 from Reading Is Fundamental, a nonprofit organization that promotes children’s literacy, to purchase additional books.

“We’ll eventually accept used and donated books,” said Mary Pat Jolivett, a PTA member “But we wanted to start with nice spanking-new books.”

The school is distributing “book bucks” that can be used only in the vending machine, which sits in the first floor hallway.

Book bucks are intended simply as an incentive to read, not as a reward for good grades, attendance, or behavior. 

“The idea is that ‘you are a reader and you deserve a book’ for your home library,” said Jolivette. Every student has had the opportunity to select one book this spring to read over summer vacation. Purchases will continue on a monthly basis starting next year. 

Books were purchased in groups of five so that students can read the same titles as their friends. “Maybe that will facilitate an organic book club,” said Jolivette.

Right now, most of the books are popular fiction at various reading levels, but changes based on the season, month, or theme are planned for the future. “We might have all poetry books in April, or books about the African-American experience in February,” said Jolivette.

Krissy Dietrich Gallagher

Krissy Dietrich Gallagher is a longtime resident of Cleveland Heights and a freelance journalist under contract with the CH-UH City School District. 

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Volume 12, Issue 6, Posted 9:51 AM, 06.03.2019