Source : Times of India
In an April 2018 study, researchers from New York University installed book vending machines in poor communities where books for children are scarce or nonexistent. This not only provided books for the community but the buying patterns provided a lot of insight into book buying habits, as the authors surveyed the people.
These areas are called “book deserts”, as access to books is limited at best here. The participants were asked about how they used local libraries and found that they were “rarely seen as an option.” Moreover, the hub of those libraries seemed to be the computers rather than the books. It’s worse for children in the summer months as schools are closed and their access to school libraries is down which puts them at an intellectual disadvantage as compared to their privileged peers.
The vending machines were set up in high-traffic areas of low-income neighbourhoods in Detroit and Washington, D.C. to see how their access would affect family reading patterns and the academic downside over summer.
The machines did well. They dispensed more than 64,000 free books to 26,200 unique readers and 38,235 repeat users over the summer. However, the experiment in whole provided great insight into the people were surveyed and interviewed and a lot of data was gathered and assessed from the interaction with the machines.
The presence of book vending machines wasn’t enough to get children uninterested in reading to pick up a book, though. Forty percent of passersby browsed but didn’t make a selection.