For Release: Immediately
Department of External Affairs
Free Library of Philadelphia
1901 Vine Street
Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710
FAX (215) 567-7850
Contact: Communications and Development
For Release: Immediately
Contact: Communications and Development

Tales-to-Go from the Free Library: Kiosks Dispense FREE Short Stories

Tales-to-Go from the Free Library: Kiosks Dispense FREE Short Stories in Small, Medium, and Large
Read them at the Airport, the South Philadelphia Library, and the Department of Human Services

PHILADELPHIA, August 15, 2018—Have a minute? Hankering for a break from the digital routine? Drop by a Short Story Dispenser©, push a button, and receive—free—an original short story printed on crisp, eco-friendly paper. The kiosks—administered by the Free Library of Philadelphia and located at the Philadelphia International Airport (PHL), the South Philadelphia Library, and the waiting area at the Department of Human Services (DHS)—are like no-charge ATMs distributing fresh literature. Readers may select one-, three-, or five-minute stories—alternating between youth and adult selections—at  PHL and South Philadelphia. The Short Story Dispenser at DHS will offer three-minute youth and adult selections during all business hours.

“Our goals are to create excitement about reading in unexpected places throughout the city and to increase public awareness of the Free Library’s programs and services,” says Andrew Nurkin, the Free Library’s Deputy Director of Enrichment and Civic Engagement. “We placed kiosks at the airport and DHS in order to reach people who may not be Free Library regulars but who would enjoy a quick, accessible read. And the South Philadelphia Library is co-located with a pediatric primary care center, so families visiting the clinic can print stories to read in the waiting room. The Story Dispensers are fun to use while also promoting literacy, either on-the-go or while waiting for an appointment.”

The stories are drawn from more than 100,000 submitted by writers and evaluated by a panel of judges organized by community publisher Short Édition, creator of the Short Story Dispenser. A national short-story contest—launching on September 25, 2018—will encourage new and established American writers to add their voices to the platform and dispensers.

The Free Library is one of four libraries selected to participate in the Public Library Association’s (PLA) Fostering Creative Community Connections project, which offers the Short Story Dispensers and will present the short-story contest to promote reading and literary joy, community engagement, library programs and services, and creative expression from diverse writers. The project is funded by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and managed by the PLA, a division of the American Library Association, with support from Short Édition. Click here to learn more about Fostering Creative Community Connections and participating libraries.

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About the Free Library of Philadelphia

The Free Library of Philadelphia system, with 54 locations and the Rosenbach, advances literacy, guides learning, and inspires curiosity with millions of digital and physical materials; 25,000 yearly programs and workshops; free public computers and extensive Wi-Fi, including neighborhood Hotspots; and rich special collections, including those at Parkway Central Library and at the Rosenbach. With more than 5 million in-person visits and millions more online annually, the Free Library and the Rosenbach are among the most widely used educational and cultural institutions in Philadelphia and boast a worldwide impact.

About the Public Library Association
The Public Library Association (PLA) is the largest association dedicated to supporting the unique and evolving needs of public library professionals. Founded in 1944, PLA serves nearly 10,000 members in public libraries large and small in communities across the United States and Canada, with a growing presence around the world. PLA strives to help its members shape the essential institution of public libraries by serving as an indispensable ally for public library leaders. For more information about PLA, contact the PLA office at 1 (800) 545-2433, ext.5PLA, or

About the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
Knight Foundation is a national foundation with strong local roots. We invest in journalism, in the arts, and in the success of cities where brothers John S. and James L. Knight once published newspapers. Our goal is to foster informed and engaged communities, which we believe are essential for a healthy democracy. For more, visit



Department of External Affairs, Free Library of Philadelphia, 1901 Vine Street, Philadelphia, PA 19103-1189
(215) 567-7710, FAX (215) 567-7850