Have I Got a Story for You: IPDPL Becomes First Location in US to Have New Short Story Cube

Short Story Cube

Metamora, ILA child's first introduction to the world of literature is through short stories, whether told to them by a caretaker or read to them from one of the millions of children's picture books that have ever been published. While these stories vary in plot and tone, the one thing they have in common is brevity of length. As these young readers grow to become adults, short stories continue to be appealing. The short story – where an entire plot with a fully developed theme and limited characters can be explored in just a few minutes – is an art form that can be challenging for writers. It is easy to tell a story in 200 pages. It is much more difficult to drill a story down to only the most important points and be able to convey the entire experience in five minutes or less.

Illinois Prairie District Public Library, in Woodford County, IL, has acquired a new short story vending machine, the first of its design in the country. French publisher, Short Édition, launched the original Short Story Dispenser in 2016. Since then, over 300 of the stand-alone kiosks have been deployed around the world, with 110 of those in the United States. In November 2020, they introduced The Short Story Cube. Designed as a smaller, more portable version of the Short Story Dispenser kiosk, the Short Story Cube prints stories for adults or children on eco-friendly paper. Each original story is different and designed to be read in less than five minutes.

The Short Story Cube has options for adults and children, and each story has a reading time from one to five minutes. The dispenser has a touchless design, so users simply wave a hand in front of the story option of their choice to set the printer in motion. Stories are chosen at random, but can be themed to various holidays, seasons, topics, or genres, including poetry. The Short Story Cube has its own built in 3G device, so it can access Short Édition's library of literature from anywhere, with no wi-fi needed. Short Édition's catalog includes over 120,000 titles that print in multiple languages, including English, French, German, and Spanish, depending upon the location of the dispenser. With so many story options, users can print several stories in a row with no fear of duplicates.

The Short Story Cube was unveiled at IPDPL – Germantown Hills on Friday. Dawn Smith, IPDPL Assistant District Director, said several patrons have already taken advantage of the device, and all have been quite pleased with the results.

"This is so cool! Whoever thought of it is a genius!" was the response from one patron visiting the branch. Another patron was so pleased with the story they received, they insisted that members of the library staff read the story themselves before the patron took the story home.

IPDPL has already begun planning for the future of their Short Story Cube. In April, the Cube will dispense poems for National Poetry Month, and stories from the Cube will be part of the library's annual summer reading program. The touchless dispenser is currently located at the IPDPL – Germantown Hills location, at 509 Woodland Knolls Rd., but will be transferred to a different branch in the IPDPL system every few weeks. Anyone interested in trying out the Short Story Cube can call IPDPL for a location schedule at (309) 921-5074.

About Short Édition

Short Édition is passionate about the simple pleasure of short stories.

The Short Édition vision is to make literature accessible to all, by putting short stories – whether they be fiction, poetry, comic strips, or children's stories – into the hands of readers.

Founded in 2011, the company launched the Short Story Dispenser concept in 2016 and has now started to reach readers on each corner of the globe – from Paris to Hong Kong to San Francisco.

Short Édition has now dispensed more than 5 million short stories written by 10,000 independent authors. The company has an online community of 340,000 readers who have signed up to receive more original content, with already 35 million short stories accessed via the Short Édition website.

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