New York Public Library begins offering free Insta Novels through Instagram

NYPL Insta Novels

The New York Public Library (NYPL) is adding so-called Insta Novels to its Instagram account. Featuring classic novels and short stories, the feature is open to anyone, even those who don’t have an NYPL card or live in New York City, according to The Wall Street Journal.

The first Insta Novel offering is the first part of Lewis Carroll’s “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland.” In the months ahead, the library plans on adding Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” and Franz Kafka’s novella, “The Metamorphosis.”

Part two of “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland” arrives tomorrow, Aug. 23.

According to NYPL’s chief branch library officer, Christopher Platt: “We want people to understand that libraries aren’t just those brick-and-mortar places full of dusty books.”

To create the Insta Novel “Alice in Wonderland” for Instagram, the NYPL joining with Mother in New York, an advertising and creative agency. The agency donated its staff resources and time.

The Insta Novel technology used allows you to hold the page of a book by resting your thumb on the screen. You turn the page by lifting your thumb. In a statement, Corinna Falusi, Mother in New York’s partner and chief creative officer, called the experience “unmistakably like reading a paperback novel.”

I would agree. It will be interesting to see where NYPL’s Insta Novels go from here and whether other libraries around the world will implement similar projects on Instagram or elsewhere. I’m also curious to see whether the reading mechanism created by Mother in New York will be added anywhere else on the web.

At least one library fan is questioning the NYPL’s approach.

Michael D. D. White, the co-founder of Citizens Defending Libraries, says the emphasis on online reading works against the idea of libraries as physical spaces. “It diminishes the sense of place and purpose,” he said.

What do you think? Will NYPL’s Insta Novels will find success? Let us know in the comments below.

You can following the NYPL on Instagram at this link.