‘Everybody wants a book out of there’

Courtesy photo

CRESWELL — At Creslane Elementary School, there is a new vending machine on campus. But it doesn’t offer gum or candy. Instead, it nourishes students with something much longer lasting – books. On Wednesday, Oct. 26, Creslane surprised students by unveiling a new book vending machine at their monthly student assembly. 

This fun addition to the school will give students a new reason to get excited about learning and incentive to achieve their academic goals. The elementary school’s vending machine features colorful custom artwork created by local artist Dana Combs, who was a long-time secretary at Creslane, and will allow students to exchange special coins that they receive from teachers for books.

Eric Cullander, a retired educator and a member of Creswell's Intergenerational Reading Collaboration (IRC), a volunteer organization that partners with Creslane to promote literacy, was instrumental in helping write grant applications and bringing together donors who wanted to contribute toward the project.

“There are a lot of people in our community who know how important reading is for every student’s success. In the IRC, we have a strong interest in helping all students become competent readers by the end of third grade,” said Cullander. “We realized that there are lots of people in this community who don’t have books at home and, if you don’t have books at home, you don’t make progress – especially over the summer. When we heard this great idea from Principal (Amy) Halley about a machine that dispenses books that students can take home and keep forever, we thought, ‘Bingo!’”
Following the assembly, the initial recipients had the opportunity to select the first books to be dispensed.

Fifth grader Aralynn noted, "It's a new thing and it lights up. There's a bunch of books in it and kids want to get those books and read them. Everybody wants a book out of there."

Abby, a third grader, shared, "I think it's really cool. I want a book!"

The gold tokens that the students use to dispense the books can be earned in a variety of ways to help students achieve their goals and, over the course of the year, every student in CES will have an opportunity to come to the vending machine and receive a book to take home.

Funding for the book vending machine was provided by a grant from Creswell First!, as well as gifts from the Creslane Parent Teacher Organization and several generous donors within the community. Available books will include a variety of reading levels and genres to ensure there are books of interest for every student.

“People often ask about how they can help our school. Donating to the book fund will provide community members with an easy way to help promote literacy and get books into the hands and homes of our students,” said Halley.

For more information, visit creswell.k12.or.us/ces/.