By Brittany Dirks
According to teleread.com, JetBlue Airways–a company most wouldn’t assume has a hand in books–is sponsoring a program called “Soar with Reading.” The article states that, in a study by JetBlue, there is “only one age-appropriate book available for every 830 kids” in some D.C. communities. Shocking, in our age of abundant information.
The program’s solution is vending machines; the best part is that the books within them are free, and children can have as many as they want, as long as they–or their parents–can carry them.
The program as of now is small–there are only three of these wonders–but other places have “expressed interest in bringing the books there, as well.” The idea works similarly to claw-games: fun things for kids brings more traffic from their parents. However, this entertaining device doesn’t continuously steal quarters from wallets or end in disappointment. Rather, it encourages literacy and a love of language and learning.
Comparing this form of distribution to that of electronic media, it seems these vending machines contribute to and gain from the materialistic tendencies that children have; kids don’t value a file, but they will value a physical book–especially one they got to push some buttons for.
This program only solidifies the idea that the book is not dead; it is not replaced by learning games on tablets and smartphones, but is still thriving, wanted, and needed. Even in the highly-digital world, there is still a need for physical books.