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Elden's new vending machine rewards students with books

Three kids and man look at vending machine, which dispenses books.
There's no chips or cookies or soda in this vending machine, but it is full of treats! 

The new Bookworm Vending Machine at Elden Elementary School dispenses books for students in kindergarten to fifth grade.

Here's how it works: The vending machine only takes special gold coins. Students can earn a gold coin after receiving five “Caught You Reading” slips from Elden staff. Students may also receive a gold coin for being recognized for demonstrating the three Bees: Be Respectful, Be Responsible, Be Safe!

A special ribbon-cutting event was held recently as Principal Coughlin presented the first gold coins to a small group of students. The recipients of gold coins were so excited to receive their books.

Elden Elementary School PTA purchased the Bookworm Vending Machine for the school.

"The Elden PTA has always been passionate about getting books in the hands of our students any way we possibly can," said Katie McCormick, PTA president. "We do so by providing birthday book bins, the PARP program and One Book, One School."

During the height of the pandemic, the previous PTA president, Charla Roth, came across an advertisement for a vending machine that would dispense books instead of snacks. McCormick explored the cost of the machine and logistics of purchasing one as a gift to the school.

"I met with the Global Vending Group and discussed how we could customize the shelves to fit specific book sizes and wrap the outside of the machine with a colorful book theme or even a custom wrap," McCormick said. 

The book vending machine is property of Elden but will continue to be stocked using PTA funds for years to come, she said. The initial cost was funded using funds that the PTA raised in previous years fundraising events.

McCormick said the vending machine will help encourage reading and good citizenship.

"This incentivizes kids to read all while continuing to be kind, safe and respectful," she said.