I Don’t Know, The DMV Line Is Usually At Least Novella

I saw a really cool story via Americans for the Arts in May about a partnership between the Maryland Department of Motor Vehicles and the Prince George’s County Memorial Library System. They worked together to place kiosks that delivered short stories in a motor vehicles branch. People standing on line to conduct business can select, print out and read one of the short stories.  The library sees this as an opportunity to serve their community outside of their branches.

The stories are printed on demand and scroll out of the kiosk somewhat like a register receipt.

The story kiosk has a library of more than 8,500 short stories, varying in length. Stories are free, and readers can choose between selections for kids or content for all ages. Short Edition has also made the machine earth-friendly with eco-friendly paper that is FSC- and BPA-free.

I took a look at the website of the French company that makes the kiosks. Even though they talk about the printers being useful for business where people have to wait for service, I noticed some of the accompany pictures depict the stories being read at leisure in uncrowded cafes.

This made me wonder if there might be a use for the technology to deliver supplementary material at performances or perhaps only the parts of the playbill you are interested in. If you don’t care about the bios but want the program notes, you might choose to only print those and save on paper. Granted, this may not please those who paid to have their logos placed in the program, but perhaps they can be included on the print out on an ongoing basis.

Being able to see what types of material people are printing on demand might provide the organization with a better sense of what information to provide people in promotional materials to help them make the decision to attend. Likewise, it could be used to shape the programming and attendance experience to reflect these interests/needs.

About Joe Patti

I have been writing Butts in the Seats (BitS) on topics of arts and cultural administration since 2004 (yikes!). Given the ever evolving concerns facing the sector, I have yet to exhaust the available subject matter. In addition to BitS, I am a founding contributor to the ArtsHacker (artshacker.com) website where I focus on topics related to boards, law, governance, policy and practice.

I am also an evangelist for the effort to Build Public Will For Arts and Culture being helmed by Arts Midwest and the Metropolitan Group. (http://www.creatingconnection.org/about/)

I am currently the Director of the Grand Opera House in Macon, GA.

Among the things I am most proud are having produced an opera in the Hawaiian language and a dance drama about Hawaii's snow goddess Poli'ahu while working as a Theater Manager in Hawaii. Though there are many more highlights than there is space here to list.

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1 thought on “I Don’t Know, The DMV Line Is Usually At Least Novella”

  1. I’d much prefer being handed a playbill to having to wait to use a print-on-demand printer. I generally read the whole thing, but even if I didn’t, I still appreciate the effort that goes into a well-designed layout—something that is likely to be lacking in a “just print the bits you care about”.

    The print-a-short-story approach is something quite different—providing entertainment where people are just expecting a tedious wait. A better equivalent is actors or musicians performing outside a subway station or for a food-truck line.

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