Book vending machine promotes reading, good behavior at Marinette school

Published: Feb. 5, 2020 at 3:53 PM CST
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A new addition to Garfield Elementary School in Marinette sparks excitement and encourages students to read.

It's a vending machine that's not filled with food or drinks.

"I think it's cool, because the book vending machine has a lot of books in it," said Grayon Niemojuski, a third grader.

The machine holds more than 100 new and gently-used books.

Garfield Elementary School students spot their favorite genres and titles behind the glass.

"Puppies," said Dane Borths, a first grader.


I Survived


Bad Kitty

," said Mia Lemire, a second grader.

"History books," said Isak Sundstrom, a fourth grader.

It all started when Kim Dama, the building coordinator for the school, saw an ad for the book vending machine online.

"I presented it to our PTO at a PTO meeting and just thought we would fund-raise for it and asked them if they would be interested in kind of exploring the idea," said Dama.

The board members decided to buy the vending machine right away from the only full-time manufacturer, which is based in New York.

"I think it took maybe three minutes and we said, 'Yep, let's do it. Let's get it ordered,'" said Vickie Bird, president of Garfield's parent-teacher organization.

The purchase was completely paid for out of PTO funds.

"We know how powerful reading is for little minds especially, so we really want to get the books in the kids' hands," said Dama.

"For a lot of kids, unfortunately, having books at home is not a luxury that some of them may be able to have," said Bird.

Unlike other vending machines, there is no money involved. The students use tokens they earn with good behavior.

"If they follow classroom expectations or school-wide expectations they can earn tickets," said Dama.

They save until they reach 10 tickets, which can be traded in for a gold token required to get a book.

"You can hear them as they're walking by picking out the books that they want to try to earn," said Dama.

Dama says another school in the district is now looking into get a book vending machine.

The Garfield PTO plans to collaborate with the school when it comes to restocking books. While many are donated by teachers from classroom libraries, Bird plans to order some new books from Scholastic Book Clubs.