Lincolnshire

University of Lincoln installs literary vending machines

Story vending machine
Image caption The machines print a few lines taken randomly from a database of 100,000 titles

Free vending machines that dispense words instead of chocolate have been installed at the University of Lincoln.

The two machines print a few paragraphs from a classic novel or a poem taken randomly from a database of 100,000 titles.

Ian Snowley, Dean of Student Learning, said users can select from three different story lengths but have no idea what they are going to get.

"People love the random nature of the machines," he said.

The stories are delivered on a receipt-sized scroll of eco-friendly paper using heat transfer instead of ink.

Genres range from crime to contemporary fiction and include authors like Lewis Carroll and Charles Dickens.

According to the university, the machines were the first to be installed at a British university.

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Mr Snowley said they got the idea after reading about machines installed in Canary Wharf, London.

"Libraries are all about reading and getting people to be creative - so we took the idea from there," he said.

"We are all addicted to our phones - but this is something tangible to take away and take a moment away from our hectic lives."

"People can also hang them up in the library when they are finished with them for others to take away," he added.

Later in the year, students and the wider community will be able to submit their own stories for possible inclusion in the database, the university said.

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