Asia’s first short story dispenser arrives at Hong Kong Baptist University Library!

Today’s post comes to us from Maggie Wong and Chris Chan, librarians at the Hong Kong Baptist University Library. It’s an exciting read about an innovative product they have introduced their patrons to and is quite interesting. We hope you enjoy!

Image courtesy of Maggie Wong

This past August, Hong Kong Baptist University (HKBU) Library launched Asia’s first story dispenser. This dispenser is the creation of Short Edition, a publishing startup based in the city of Grenoble, France. The appeal of this cultural innovation is hard to dispute, with hundreds of articles about it being penned since its debut in 2014. You can read more about the story behind the dispenser from this New Yorker article written back in January 2016.

Until recently, France was the only place that you could find one of these distinctive orange-and-black machines. It then started appearing in a few places in the United States, including famed director Francis Ford Coppola’s cafe in San Francisco and Pennsylvania State University Libraries. HKBU Library is excited to be the first location in Asia to host a Short Edition dispenser!

It’s incredibly easy to get a dose of literary goodness. Library patrons need simply to choose the length of their desired read (1 minute, 3 minutes, or 5 minutes) and press the corresponding button. Voilà! The story is printed out instantly.

Right now the dispenser is dispensing a mix of classic fiction (e.g. Shakespeare and Virginia Woolf) and original works by Short Edition authors translated from French into English. The Library will be gathering short stories authored by the HKBU community this semester in partnership with faculty from the Department of English and the Department of Humanities and Creative Writing. By the end of the year, expect to see the work of HKBU authors being dispensed by the Library’s machine. These stories will be in both English and Chinese.

To ensure that this innovation is in line with HKBU’s commitment to a low-carbon campus, the story paper is FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified and BPA free. Moreover, the machine uses thermal printing which requires no ink, and the printing is done on a print-on-demand basis. Patrons are encouraged to share each story with their friends and families, so that the printout is read by more than one person.

Image courtesy of Maggie Wong

Since the launch, the machine has dispensed around one hundred short stories per day. Feedback has been highly positive, and HKBU librarians have taken great pleasure in seeing patrons reading their story or leaving the Library with a story in their hands!

Additionally, we have also made a short video to demonstrate how to use the dispenser:

We would love to hear your thoughts on this amazing technology and its use. Please share your comments via our FacebookTwitter or our LinkedIn pages. 

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