The Seattle Public Library Installs the City’s First Short-story Dispenser at the Station Coffee Shop
release date: 12/15/2020
Want a shot of literature with your daily latte? At The Station Coffee Shop in the heart of Seattle’s Beacon Hill neighborhood, you can now order up a 1-minute, 3-minute or 5-minute short story at Seattle’s first-ever short-story dispenser, installed by The Seattle Public Library.
The slim, kiosk-like machine, located near the entrance of The Station, offers a contactless story-generating experience: Wave your hand over the buttons to make your selection and a story is printed on a column sturdy, eco-friendly, BPA-free paper. The service is free.
“As a beloved community space in the heart of Beacon Hill, The Station is the perfect location to test-drive this new way of connecting people to literature,” said Andrew Harbison, The Seattle Public Library’s assistant director of Collections and Access. “We hope that it will introduce an element of surprise and delight in Seattle residents’ days during this difficult time and remind them of the Library’s role in bringing literature to the community.”
"We are excited to share stories with our community,” said Luis Rodriguez, co-owner of The Station. “Every human has a story, my community is my book and every day is a new chapter. We are all a poem in the making."
Inspired to promote literature in our ever faster, digital world of screens, French publishing company Short Edition created the story dispenser in 2016 to offer people unexpected literary moments in their daily lives. More than 300 have been installed around the world in unexpected places such as airports, train stations and museums. Writers can also submit stories for consideration at Short Edition. The Library’s dispenser is the first (and only) located in Washington state, according to the map on this page.
The Library plans to move the short-story dispenser to different locations in the city over time. Currently, the kiosk will generate adult fiction – both contemporary and classic – but the Library may change or add genres to complement the location, season or related Library programs. Keep up to date on the kiosk’s location and other details at spl.org/ShortStoryDispenser.
The Short Edition story dispenser was made possible by a generous grant from The Seattle Public Library Foundation. “At a time when we are more isolated, finding stories and creative expression in unexpected places can help connect us,” said Jonna Ward, CEO of the Foundation. “We are glad to support it.”
Seattle became a UNESCO City of Literature in 2017 and is considered one of the most literate cities in the world.
The Seattle Public Library offers many other ways to connect its Seattle community to stories and literature, including the phone-based Lit Line (launched this past summer), the Your Next 5 service for personalized reading recommendations, recommended reading lists by age and genre and much more.
The Library's dynamic approach to building community that enriches lives includes programming that brings people, information and ideas together to respect and embrace the well-being of the people we serve. We celebrate Seattle’s many cultures by forming strong partnerships with community organizations to offer literature and art that is accessible to all.
Follow the Library’s Road to Reopening page to check on the status of services. The Seattle Public Library also has many free online services, resources and programs available while its physical buildings remain closed. You can find out more on our digital resources page or by contacting the Library by phone at 206-386-4636. Staff are ready to answer questions and direct you to helpful resources and information during this challenging time.