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Vending machine provides books for students

WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley

A Buffalo Public School is the first in the city to launch a Book Vending Machine. WBFO’s senior reporter Eileen Buckley says students at the Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction #61 tossed a token and made a book selection.

Just like deciding on what candy bar to pick, students peered into the glass front of the vending machine. They ponder their book selection. The school is providing golden tokens to insert into the vending machine that will dispense age appropriate books for students in Pre-K through 4th grade each month.

9-year-old Marshai Alston is a third grader. She was the first to make a book selection and picked "I Survived the Hindenburg Disaster, 1937".

“Why did you pick that?” asked Buckley. “Because maybe I can learn something from it,” replied Alston.

The District held a ribbon cutting to show off the new concept.

Assistant Principal Dr. Unseld Robinson, who came to the school three years ago from Long Island. He saw the idea in another school and wanted to bring the vending machine to School 61.  

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
First grader Navaeh Johnson, dressed in her favorite story, selected Frozen.

“And this vending machine is going to help boost children in terms of speaking well, their pronunciation, so we look at this as being a tool towards Dr. Cash’s vision of turnaround,” remarked Robinson.

Students are encouraged to take it home and build their own library. Buffalo School Board member Sharon Belton-Cottman is encouraging parents to put the “focus on reading”.

“One of the biggest issues we have in this district is literacy. If our children can read, they can survive,” declared Belton-Cottman.

Credit WBFO News photo by Eileen Buckley
Students at the Arthur O. Eve School of Distinction show off their book selections in their school library.

School 61 Principal Parette Walker tells WBFO News the believe the free books will encourage reading.

“We’re not basing it on behavior. We’re not basing it on attendance, so that everyone will have a chance to receive a book. There will be a monthly rotation of all students

The Community Action Organization stepped up to purchase the $2,000 vending machine and provided another $1,000 buy books. The Teacher's Desk and Scholastic also donated more books and The Teacher's Desk will keep the machine stocked in the future.