Introducing Lincoln’s first poetry vending machine

Two innovative new vending machines were launched at the University of Lincoln this week, but instead of the usual chocolate and crisps it will dispense poetry.

The University of Lincoln is now the first university in the UK and Europe to house one of the machines, which are made by French publishing company Short Édition. They were launched at the university by Vice Chancellor Professor Mary Stuart on Tuesday, September 17 and are now available to use.

The first Lincoln machine was installed at the University’s Great Central Warehouse Library, with plans for the other to pop-up in locations across the Brayford Pool campus, starting with the Minerva Building Library Learning Lounge.

It will enable users to select from three different lengths of short story which are printed on a receipt-sized scroll of eco-friendly paper.

A recent study commissioned by Canary Wharf, which was the first UK site to install one of the machines, estimated that 36% of UK adults gave up on a book in the last year because they had no time to finish it.

This is where the machines come in handy as the bite sized pieces of literature, including works from the likes of Charles Dickens and Virginia Woolf, can be read in a matter of minutes.

The machines aim to make literature more accessible in public places and the dispensers also include work written by new and upcoming authors.

Short Édition Short Story dispenser. Photo: University of Lincoln

Lincoln will launch an online portal later this year to allow staff, students and Lincoln city residents to become published authors by submitting their own stories. Submitted work will first appear exclusively on the Lincoln machines. If selected it could be entered into the Short Edition international archive, appearing on over 150 machines worldwide.

The University Library will also be creating a ‘Short Story’ zone in the building, where readers can leave stories they’ve printed out to be picked up by others and read, and then shared again. Stories can also be read online here.

Speaking at the launch professor Mary Stuart said: “I’m delighted that Lincoln is the first UK University to use this innovative technology to support the development of reading and writing in our University and city communities.”