Knight Foundation funds initiative with Public Library Association and publisher Short Edition to foster creative community connections

The Public Library Association announced a new partnership with community publisher Short Edition to promote reading and literary joy through public libraries in four U.S. communities. The Akron-Summit County Public Library has been named as one of the participants. Other libraries are the Free Library of Philadelphia (PA), Richland Library (Columbia, SC), and Wichita Public Library (KS). The initiative is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation.

The joint project also will encourage diverse writers to share their work through Short Edition’s digital content platform while promoting library programs and services for readers and writers of all ages.

Akron-Summit County Public Library will determine placement and partners for launch in coming weeks.

“We are delighted to have been selected as a partnership in the Short Story Dispenser initiative. We know our community will enjoy printing out short stories on demand, which will reinforce the importance and joy of reading,” said Pam Hickson-Stevenson, Director, Akron-Summit County Public Library.

Readers can print one-, three-, or five-minute stories from a range of genres at the touch of a button via the Short Story Dispenser. The kiosks will be branded to the libraries, enabling them to further their reach and visibility, as well as connect each story back to the full power of their collections and programs. This program also marks the launch of a new digital platform (www.short-edition.com/en) for sharing new literary creations.

“Public libraries have long been at the forefront of promoting and supporting literacy, literature and the joy of reading,” said PLA President Pam Sandlian Smith. “More recently, libraries are expanding programs and services that encourage and support creative community expression through digital media labs, writing programs and 3-D printing.”

"Libraries have an essential role to play in connecting the community and building a rich civic infrastructure. This program helps to further that goal, using storytelling as an impetus to inform people and attract new audiences," said George Abbott, Knight Foundation director for community and national initiatives.

The Short Story Dispensers were first launched in France in 2015 by the startup company Short Edition, which designed and created the dispenser to bring literature to unexpected places like airports, train stations, shopping centers, and hospitals.

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