Short Story Dispenser Initiative

Project Information

The Fostering creative community connections with public libraries and the Short Story Dispenser initiative aims to:

  • Increase interest in literacy and literature through innovative access to more than 80,000 short stories and a national contest to generate new original stories;
  • Increase public awareness and use of library programs and services; and
  • Develop and strengthen community outreach and engagement through an innovative and engaging reading service.

The project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and managed by the Public Library Association (PLA), a division of the American Library Association.  PLA will work with the French company Short Edition to bring their Short Story Dispensers and content creation platform to public libraries in Knight Foundation communities. From the dispenser, users can print and read from among 80,000 one-, three-, or five- minute stories at the touch of a button. Libraries can select the genre(s) of story to be available in any dispenser. Please take a moment to read a general overview about the dispensers created by Short-Edition.

Selected libraries from Knight Foundation communities will receive:

  • Up to three Short Story Dispensers and rolls of paper
  • Two-year license to access digital content via the dispensers
  • 3G connectivity for the dispensers for two years
  • Technical support for operating and maintaining the Dispensers
  • PLA program and promotional support for the initiative

PLA and Short Edition also will coordinate and manage a national short story contest in the Spring of 2018 to encourage and enable writers to add their voices to the collection. 

Participating libraries will be responsible for:

  • Creating and implementing a vision for leveraging the devices and writing contest to promote reading, writing, and community engagement with library programs and services; 
  • Participating in and promoting the writing contest broadly, with emphasis on emerging writers and those who may be under-represented in collections;
  • Capturing and sharing innovations and lessons learned through the pilot; and,
  • Coordinating logistics with PLA and Short Edition for delivery and maintenance of the dispensers.

As part of this pilot, we would expect project contacts to be available for regular monthly or bi-monthly meetings, to fill out surveys, to offer insight into how to improve community engagement, to provide statistics from the dispensers, etc., with the aim being to share feedback about your experience using the dispensers. We anticipate project activities to take about 3-5 hours per month, with more time in the first few months.