Vending machine offers free books to North Harlem Elementary students

Published: Aug. 2, 2022 at 4:51 PM EDT
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HARLEM, Ga. (WRDW/WAGT) - A new addition to North Harlem Elementary School will give students free books, but they have to earn them with good behavior.

Here’s the story behind the ‘Inchy the Bookworm Machine’.

Students at North Harlem Elementary have been rewarded for good behavior before, but never like this.

“We’re taking it one step further and saying, ‘Hey, we see you. We understand how much effort goes into being a good citizen, and we want to reward you for that’,” said Instructional Specialist Andrea Eremus.

Students earn ‘Pride Paws’ when someone spots them doing something good. After earning 25, they can use the vending machine to pick out a free book.

It started one weekend when Eremus watched CBS Sunday Morning, when they promised good news about a school in Harlem.

“The school they were talking about was in Harlem, New York, and I was like ‘Oh my goodness,’ but I did watch the story,” she said.

That story introduced her to a school with a vending machine that offered free books.

“After watching that, I looked at my husband and said, ‘We can totally do this’. So two months later, this vending machine was in our school,” said Eremus.

Inspired by that school in New York, the Harlem, Ga. community raised money to buy this machine and enough books to stock it for a year.

“I’m overwhelmed, and I’m overjoyed because I think every kid should have access to their own literature,” she said.

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