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Story dispensers on display at Richland library

Creative Industries
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Three short story dispensers are now up and running at the Richland Library Main location at 1431 Assembly St.

The dispensers were provided to the library through a grant from the Knight Foundation. In May, Columbia was announced as one of U.S. four cities selected to receive the dispensers.

Tony Tallent, chief program and innovation officer at Richland Library, with the spoils from a short story dispenser.  (Photo/Travis Boland)“We think this will give us a whole new way to share stories with the public.” said Tony Tallent, chief program and innovation officer at Richland Library. “It’s an inventive and innovative way to deploy ourselves in story format across the community.”

The dispensers, installed Saturday, gave out more than 154 short stories on their first day. Tallent said the dispensers will remain in the library’s main location for a few weeks before being moved around town.

“The ideal of this is to have these in the community places and events,” Tallent said. “We hope it will elevate a focus on literacy and get people interested in reading in a different way.”

The dispenser features buttons on the top that deliver a one-, three- or five-minute short story from the dispensers’ database. The story is printed like a receipt.

“Three (dispensers) is our allotment we were given through the Public Library Association,” Tallent said. “The grant allows us to experiment with the dispensers for two years.”

In addition to encouraging reading, Tallent hopes the dispensers will highlight the work of local and regional writers. He said the library plans a short story contest at the end of September, with the winning stories added to the dispenser database.

Reach Travis Boland at 803-726-7543.

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