The First-Ever Book Vending Machine Arrives in Katy ISD

Katy ISD Namesakes Robert and Felice Bryant with Bryant Elementary Principal William Rhodes.

Robert and Felice Bryant Elementary School (BES) is now the home of the first-ever book vending machine in Katy ISD. Thanks to the fundraising efforts by the students and Parent Teacher Association (PTA) group, the school was able to acquire a vending machine that holds books for students to purchase.

The idea for the book vending machine came from Dr. William H. Rhodes, Principal at BES, who saw a tweet about a school in New York unveiling a book vending machine for their students. “I went straight to our Librarian Nidia Casillas and said, ‘We have to have this. It is an amazing idea!’” Casillas found the small company in New York and created a plan to present to the BES PTA Board. After an enthusiastic and quick approval, the PTA created the “Crazy Coin Competition” where students brought loose change and bills to donate. The homeroom class that collected the most money had their teacher crowned as king or queen of the Annual Bryant Ball. Through the fundraiser, the students raised enough to cover half of the machine, and the PTA paid for the other half, along with covering the cost of the books.

The book vending machine accepts special coins, which students will earn for good behavior and improvement on grades, as well as through drawings every Friday that are conducted via live announcements. Books are hand-selected by Casillas, who has chosen a wide variety of popular books for all grade levels.

“Our students love going to the library,” said Rhodes. “The library is the central focus of the school, and students are always seeing the great things happening in the library. The book vending machine just makes our library even more special and helps attract kids to love reading even more.”

The Book Vending Machine unveiling took place on Friday, May 3rd. Students from each grade level, as well as the queen of the Bryant Ball, had the opportunity to be the first to use the machine with coins they earned earlier this month.