The headline read “The Vending Machine That Spits Out Short Stories“ Something about the idea of pushing a button and getting a free story reminds me of the little free neighborhood libraries that have popped up around the country over the years. Here’s how a dispenser works: It is shaped like a cylinder with three buttons on top indicating a “one minute”, “three minutes”, or “five minutes” story (That’s how long it takes to read) .When a button is pushed, a short story is printed, unfurled on a long strip of paper. Offerings can be tailored to specific interests: children’s fiction, romance, and beyond. They are retrieved from a computer catalog of more than 100,000 original submissions by writers who enter writing contests. The mission is to advance literacy and inspire creativity. The researcher in me can’t help but wonder how they are covering the cost for these machines. The dispensers cost $9,200 plus an additional $190 per month for content and software. Are there entry fees for these contests? Is there a grant? Does anyone have one of these in their community? Would you welcome one in your community?