Part of our library’s strategic plan is to reach underserved populations within our community, and a repurposed vending machine named the Book Box is the tool we plan to use to distribute books and help facilitate that goal. By placing the Book Box in the Effingham County Building, we will be able to promote literacy to community members as well as those who are currently incarcerated.
Multiple studies have shown the benefit of literacy and education in the decrease of recidivism among incarcerated populations; therefore, our hope is to provide a service which will help citizens better themselves as well as the community through reading. Through discussions with the Effingham County Board, we have permission to place this repurposed vending machine in the County building thereby providing free reading material anyone in a sustainable, inviting venue. By placing this engaging machine in a possibly unexpected place and using an unconventional method, we anticipate creating more conversation about the library that in turn will increase awareness of the resources and the free life-long learning events and programs that we offer.
This project will also allow our library to share its abundance of donated books with our community. Our library continually receives more books than it can sell through quarterly book sales or online through Better World Books. We envision that the Book Box project will provide regularly stocked, curated selection of great reads for free in our community.
Users will find books, sorted by genre, wrapped in butcher paper and labeled so that they receive a book of their choosing at the push of a button.
For now, we are simply working on a pilot program. We envision a project that will scale and allow us to access other public places within our community to build partnerships and promote literacy. In order to better increment this scaled sustainable program, we plan to open source our project and make resources available so that other libraries and nonprofits may replicate our model and processes. Besides promoting literacy, the Book Box project will allow us to be better stewards of our environment by minimizing e-waste and giving great books a second chance.