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UTA first in Texas to promote literacy through short story dispenser

Thursday, September 13, 2018 • Media Contact: Herb Booth

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The University of Texas at Arlington Libraries recently installed the first short story dispenser in the state of Texas.

Short story dispenser

The UTA Library has installed a short story dispenser on the second floor of the UTA Central Library for readers and writers.

The dispenser delivers literature, both classic and contemporary works of art, in a vending machine style. Users can select whether they want a one, three or five-minute story by pressing a simple button. The dispenser will then print a randomly – selected short story on a scroll type paper. 

“This machine allows our community to take printed literature on the go,” said Rebecca Bichel, UTA dean of Libraries. “We want to encourage literacy and the short story dispenser allows us to present great writing easily packaged for instant gratification. This is a way for the library to support and encourage literacy in a new way.”

The Short Story Dispenser can be found on the second floor of Central Library on the UTA campus. Created by Short Edition, a French company, this machine also encourages writing. Anyone who wishes to submit a short story for use in the dispensers can do so. View a video of the dispenser here.

“A significant focus for the libraries is to empower our students as creators,” said Gretchen Trkay, head of the Department of Experiential Learning and Undergraduate Success. “The short story dispenser provides an opportunity for our students to share their creative writing both locally and around the world with the touch of a finger. We plan to incorporate the short story dispenser into several of our upcoming events.”

The UTA Library hopes the installment of the dispenser will spark interest across the university community and help drive literacy in the 21st century. Reading for pleasure is at an all-time low in the United States. A recent government report revealed Americans read for fun about 17 minutes each day.

“In an increasingly digital age, students are losing their appreciation for the art of leisure reading,” said Bob Samson, head of Department of Library Systems and Technology. “The Short Edition Short Story Dispenser encourages students to take a few minutes out of their day to enjoy some brief casual reading.”

The UTA Libraries plans to promote the dispenser as well as authorship across campus by creating events such as writing contests. Officials hope to see local and regional authors’ stories dispensed in the University Library.

-- written by Dara McCluskey