Libraries' Short Stories website launches with University-wide fiction contest

February 28, 2018

UNIVERSITY PARK, Pa. — Penn State University Libraries launched its Penn State-exclusive creative writing platform today (Feb. 28), enabling anyone with an active email address to join the site to submit, vote and comment on others’ original works. To celebrate, the Libraries’ Short Stories website is hosting its first short story competition with the theme “New Beginnings,” and winners’ works will be added to Penn State’s first set of short story dispensers on the University Park campus.

“The Libraries’ Short Stories site offers the Penn State community the opportunity to share and receive feedback on their creative fiction writing with an engaged audience of their peers,” Joseph Salem, the Libraries’ associate dean for Learning, Undergraduate Services and Commonwealth Campuses, said. “The program’s innovative platform provides a unique literary opportunity for our users, while supporting Penn State’s strategic plan thematic priority to advance the arts and humanities.”

The final phase of the Libraries’ innovative agreement with vendor Short Edition, the Penn State Libraries Short Stories site,, allows any University student, faculty or staff member to create an account to submit short works of original fiction. Stories’ reading lengths of approximately one, three or five minutes can be uploaded in six genres. Stories are publicly visible on the website for anyone to read, although only Penn State account holders can login to offer comments and “like” or vote for contest favorites.

The new Penn State Libraries Short Stories site,, allows any Penn State student, faculty or staff member to create an account to submit short works of original fiction as well as “like” and offer comments on others’ submitted stories.

The short story competition’s submissions are limited to 8,500 characters, including spaces, and must be received by April 20. Multiple authors whose stories follow the online submission guidelines and are uploaded before the contest deadline will be eligible to win prizes, to be announced, and will have their stories added to Penn State Libraries’ first set of short story dispensers for readers’ randomly selected printouts. Winners, chosen by a student-run editorial team who also will include fan favorites from website voting, will be announced on or before Friday, April 27.

Four of Penn State Libraries’ first five short story dispensers are on the University Park campus — two at Pattee Library and Paterno Library first floor entrances, plus one at the Physical and Mathematical Sciences Library, 201 Davey Lab, and one at the Division of Undergraduate Studies offices, first floor Grange Building. The fifth is inside Schlow Centre Region Library in downtown State College. With the help of donors, the Libraries hopes to expand the number of short story dispensers in strategic locations to include Commonwealth Campuses and increase the impact of the University-wide initiative.

For more information about the Short Stories “New Beginnings” contest, contact Hailley Fargo, student engagement and outreach librarian, at For other questions about Penn State Libraries’ short story dispensers and online initiative, email Joe Salem at

(Media Contacts)

Last Updated March 06, 2018