Last week I attended the Keystone State Literacy Conference in State College, home of the Penn State Nittany Lions. It’s always fun to return to Happy Valley where I spent four very formative years as an undergraduate. Of course, that was fifty years ago, and much has changed in that time.
One of the optional pre-conference events was a tour of the library. I hadn’t been in the library in…well, probably close to forty-five years, so I jumped at the chance to rediscover this special space.
As we entered I took a minute to orient myself. The massive staircases still framed the front lobby, but the Starbucks tucked in the back was new. The room with the long study tables and card catalogs now housed comfortable chairs and couches arranged in small group spaces. There were more rooms, large and small, more spaces designated for creating, more computers, and on a Sunday afternoon…more students. I think that is what stood out to me the most. There were students everywhere on computers and tablets, working alone and together. The library was a hub of activity!
Near the entrance was a Short Edition short story dispenser. Here you could opt to receive a 1, 3, or 5-minute story at the touch of a button. The stories are written by Penn State students, faculty, and staff and submitted for distribution. The program, started about a year or so ago, is an attempt to encourage more people to spend time reading and writing literature.
I copied this from the PSU Short Edition website: “Together let’s make the world a more poetic place by encouraging reading and writing, while showcasing Penn State authors internationally.”
Sounds good to me! I believe that it is “story” that will bring us to a better understanding of each other and what it means to live in kindness. Wouldn’t it be great to have these dispensers everywhere, like Little Free Libraries? Perhaps it is a movement, I just never saw it before.
And by the way…thank you, Sabrina, for your engaging story “The Model Employee.”