Helena, Montana

Lewis and Clark Library and PAL create special vending machine

HELENA — The Lewis & Clark Library has teamed up with Project of Alternative Learning Center (PAL) to install a vending machine.

But this is no ordinary vending machine that gobbles up and eats students quarters. For this machine will not dispense the usual cookies, candies, or chips. Instead, it will dispense books.

The public library donated the vending machine through their foundation.

Teen Services Librarian who Heather Dickerson, who works closely with PAL noticed a significant barrier for students who want to checkout, but can’t because of library fines or not attaining a traditional library card.

Principal Wynn Randall from Project Learning, told MTN about the importance of the book vending machine and how it will greatly benefit students.

Randall stated, “So, the vending machine to us is going to give the students an opportunity to come to PAL and be able to get the books; the latest and greatest that are out there, and have access to them through a means of a token, free to them…they’ll be able to grab a book and take it home and read it that day.”

The book vending machine is one of the first in the state and has been ordered and expected to be installed in the next upcoming weeks.

Its initial purpose is to open barriers for students who may have challenges getting to and from the library and inspire kids to read more as much as they desire without the hindrance of fines or transportation.

Students will be able to get books using a token provided by their teachers for doing well on tests, exceptional attendance and participation.

Christine Sullivan

Christine Sullivan

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