Arts and Entertainment

Libraries' Short Edition partnership with Schlow grows to welcome local writers

Penn State University Libraries has four Short Edition short story dispensers on the University Park campus, and its fifth is on the second floor of Schlow Centre Region Library in downtown State College. An expansion of this partnership between the neighboring libraries enables Centre County creative writers to submit their own original creative writing and poetry to the Penn State Libraries Short Stories website, Credit: Penn State University Libraries / Penn StateCreative Commons

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries’ partnership with Schlow Centre Region Library in downtown State College will expand starting Nov. 1, when its Short Edition short story reading collaboration is extended to local-resident writers.

Centre County writers of original short fiction and poetry will be able to submit their creative works through the Libraries Short Stories website, Their submissions also may be considered for distribution through the Libraries’ four Short Edition short story dispensers on Penn State’s University Park campus, as well as its fifth dispenser in Schlow Library’s adult services department.

Penn State faculty, staff and students University-wide have been able to submit their work for editorial review and potential distribution through the dispensers since the site’s launch on Feb. 28, when it also launched the first of its University-wide writing contests. Winning stories selected by an editorial board as well as through public votes, submitted through the Short Stories website, and several stories garnering honorable mentions were placed on the short story dispensers.

In May 2017, Penn State became the world’s first educational institution to partner with Short Edition of Grenoble, France, when the University Libraries brought five of its dispensers to the University Park campus. Short Edition, a publishing company, produces cylindrical machines that print free short stories, selected at random, on long strips of paper and dispensed on demand. At the time, the University Libraries installed four dispensers on campus and, as part of a growing partnership with State College’s public library, also placed one in Schlow Library.

“Since Schlow had a Short Edition dispenser from the start, it made sense to explore the possibility of adding community stories to our community content,” Hailley Fargo, Penn State University Libraries student engagement librarian, explained. “I know that we have a great community of writers in Centre County. We are excited for their contributions and being able to publish local work on our Short Edition dispensers.”

Stories can be submitted online at, where new users first must create a user account. Short story submissions may not exceed 8,000 characters, and poetry submissions may not exceed 7,000 characters. Character-count limits for all submissions include spaces. All genres of short stories are acceptable as long as they are about literary fiction, while historical fiction is acceptable if it includes an imaginative story.

Complete rules and instructions are listed on the website.

“We are very grateful to the University Libraries,” said Maria Burchill, head of adult services at Schlow Centre Region Library. “Hailley and the editorial review board have opened a new world of publishing for authors in Centre County. This is a unique opportunity for them to share their work with the larger community and for new authors to experience the thrill of publishing.”

Since May 2017, when the five short story dispensers were installed, nearly 30,000 stories have been printed among all five of Penn State’s dispensers. The dispenser at Schlow Library has printed out nearly 3,500 stories. The partnership team’s plan is to add as much locally submitted creative writing as possible for distribution on Schlow’s dispenser, and to also consider adding some community members’ writing to the University Libraries’ other short story dispensers. 

“So far, we have had great reception to the dispensers,” Fargo said. “People enjoy printing off stories, and we have heard stories of students swapping their stories with their peers for a little reading club.”

More information about the Penn State Libraries Short Stories initiative, including its fall 2018 “Lost and Found” writing contest open through Nov. 16 for Penn State students, faculty and staff, is available on the Libraries Short Stories website,

Last Updated October 31, 2018