'Short Story Dispensers' Coming To Wichita

May 8, 2018

The Wichita Public Library is one of four public libraries nationwide that will soon be offering machines that print short stories on demand and free of charge.

The library is expected to receive three short story dispensers by June.

Wichita Public Libraries director Cynthia Berner says these short story dispensers will help promote literacy and encourage reading.

"It’s a simple kiosk, you’ll be able to hit a button, make a few choices and then you’ll get the paper that comes out with your story," Berner says.

The stand-alone kiosks are loaded with thousands of short stories for children and adults. The stories are printed with special ink on long rolls of paper like a receipt.

The stories are randomly dispensed, and users can select whether they want a story that can be read in one minute, three minutes or five minutes.

"Through this program, we have an opportunity to encourage local authors to write short stories and then submit them so they can be shared through the dispensers as well," Berner says.

One dispenser will be placed in a waiting room for a pediatric clinic at the KU School of Medicine; another will be in a waiting room at the Dole VA Medical Center.

"Not only is it something to take your mind off the fact that you are sitting and waiting, but it’s something that’s just a great opportunity to show how easy it is to take advantage of literacy and reading,” Berner says. “We can’t do enough to remind people of the importance of reading, the importance of literacy for persons of all ages.”

The third dispenser will be available at pop-up library events.

Berner says library administrators will be maintaining the kiosks and will receive electronic alerts when a paper roll runs out.

A publishing company in France called Short Edition launched the first short story dispensers in 2015. It created and designed the dispenser to bring literature to unexpected places like airports, hospitals and shopping centers. Hundreds of kiosks are available worldwide.

In addition to the Wichita Public Library, libraries in Akron-Summit County, Ohio, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania and Columbia, South Carolina are also receiving story dispensers.

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