Abington dispenser offers original creative writing with the push of button

Abington library

A Penn State Abington student shows the story she printed from the Short Story Dispenser to Binh Le, reference and instruction librarian.

Credit: Penn State

ABINGTON, Pa. — The Penn State Abington Library was selected by the University Libraries to install a Short Story Dispenser that delivers original content from around the globe as well as literary pieces submitted by faculty, staff and students.

At the push of a button, random stories are printed on demand on papyrus paper, similar to a shopping receipt. One may select a reading length of one, three or five minutes.

Binh Le, reference and instruction librarian at the Abington Library, said there are three goals for the project.

“We want to promote reading among Abington faculty, staff and students, and encourage contributions from the Abington community,” he said. “Finally, we hope to facilitate dialogue between the authors and the readers via a dedicated Penn State website.”  

“Stories from all genres are submitted by folks from all walks of life worldwide to a panel for review,” Le noted. “Once selected, they are uploaded for distribution.”

Abington faculty, staff and students can contribute to this project via University-wide writing contests. Creative works may include short stories, poems and excerpts of dialogue for plays, which are submitted for editorial review. Once accepted, the selected pieces are distributed through the dispensers.

Some Abington faculty, staff and students took part in the fall 2018 writing contest, Le said. The spring 2019 Penn State writing contest will held in the coming weeks.

Abington library
Credit: Penn State

In between writing contests, Penn State Short Edition accepts original fiction (maximum of 8,500 characters including spaces) and poetry (maximum of 7,000 characters) on any theme or topic from faculty, staff and students. The Penn State Short Edition Editorial Board will read stories and publish them to its website. A few times each year, the Editorial Board will review all open submissions and select a handful to be printed on its dispensers.

In addition to delivering Penn Staters’ writing to readers, readers are encouraged to visit the website to share their responses, facilitating creative writing conversations between readers and authors.

The first Short Story Dispenser was created by Short Édition, a French independent publisher. In May 2017, Penn State University Libraries entered into an innovative agreement with Short Édition to be the first university worldwide to house the dispensers.

About Penn State Abington

Penn State Abington provides an affordable, accessible, and high-impact education resulting in the success of a diverse student body. It is committed to student success through innovative approaches to 21st century public higher education within a world-class research university. With nearly 4,000 students, Penn State Abington is a residential campus that offers baccalaureate degrees in 19 majors, undergraduate research, the Schreyer honors program, NCAA Division III athletics, and more.