Fostering Creative Community Connections

Promoting public library programs and services for readers and writers through Short Story Dispensers and a national short story contest!

National Writing Contest rules and details can be found at

The Public Library Association (PLA) is excited to announce a new initiative funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation: Fostering creative community connections with public libraries and the Short Story Dispenser. PLA is partnering with French startup Short Edition to support four libraries in Knight Foundation communities to bring more than 80,000 stories to unexpected places via the Short Story Dispenser and encourage diverse writers to share their work via its content creation platform. The libraries selected to participate were announced in March 2018.

This initiative builds on a tradition among U.S. public libraries of implementing programs and services related to community engagement and literacy. Public libraries have long been at the forefront of promoting and supporting literacy, literature and the joy of reading. Library staff understand that literacy and reading are foundational to civic participation, educational advancement and economic opportunity. More recently, public libraries have expanded programs and services that encourage and empower people to create and share their creativity through digital media labs, writing programs and 3D printing. This project contributes to increasing the range and creativity of programming and community engagement activities—including by reaching beyond a library’s physical location to deliver services in innovative ways.

National Writing Contest

Writers, do you have the COURAGE to set your stories free? #SetStoriesFree Fostering Creative Community Connections National Writing ContestTo the courageous writers who go forth to set free their story, take strength in knowing that the literary community supports you. You are fulfilling the mission of the American library: “to preserve our democratic society by making available the widest possible range of viewpoints, opinions and ideas, so that all individuals have the opportunity to become lifelong learners—informed, literate, educated, and culturally enriched,” (Council of the American Library Association, 1999).

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THIS IS NOT A SWEEPSTAKES. THIS IS A CONTEST OF SKILL. Contest begins on September 25, 2018 (12:00 AM Central) and ends on Tuesday, October 30, 2018 (11:59 PM Central). Only one entry per person. NO PURCHASE NECESSARY TO ENTER OR WIN. VOID WHERE PROHIBITED BY LAW. Open to legal residents of the United States who have reached the age of majority. Prizes consist of monetary awards and copy of This Journal is Overdue (ALA, 2018). Odds of winning depend on the number of entries received; winner will be chosen by a jury. ARV of all prizes is $2,016.99. Subject to full Official Rules ( Sponsor: American Library Association.

Start planning your writing programs now! Find programming ideas at Programming Librarian:

  1. WRITE Stuff Writing Club
  2. Cursive Writing Workshop
  3. Make NaNoWriMo Awesome
  4. Host a Write-In

Additional Resources for Writers and Writing


The Story Center (Mid-Continent Public Library) recommends these Readings for Writers:

How libraries can support writers:

Self-publishing in libraries:

Association of Writers and Writing Programs:

Authors Guild:

If you have any questions about the Fostering Creative Community Connections initiative, please contact Leighann Wood at