New York Public Library opens ‘virtual branch’ on Instagram, launches book recommendation project using augmented reality technology
The Virtual Branch – a custom-designed interactive AR (augmented reality) effect accessible via Instagram Reels is the centerpiece of #NYPLSummerBookshelf, a new initiative to ignite the love of reading, encourage summer reading and promote public libraries .
Celebrities, authors and influencers, including actress Rachel Bloom, author Min Jin Lee, influencer and author Eva Chen, business manager of Meta Marne Levine and others take part, sharing video reading recommendations of the virtual lending library. These videos will be shared on the Library Channel (@nypl) and their own channels throughout the summer.
Here’s how to participate:
- Open Instagram Reels. Click on the three stars above the record button and search for “NYPL” in the Effect Library.
- You will see yourself inside a virtual branch, designed taking inspiration from the library’s newly transformed central circulation branch, the Stavros Niarchos Foundation Library (SNFL). The space also winks at the Library’s research collections. For example, a teddy bear on a shelf is believed to be the original Winnie-The-Pooh: the bear that once belonged to the real Christopher Robin and inspired AA Milne’s Winnie-The-Pooh stories. This item, along with millions of others, is part of the Library’s research collections; Winnie is currently on display at the libre Polonsky Exhibit of New York Public Library Treasures at the 42nd Street Library.
- Look around to find your favorite spot in our virtual branch to use as your background.
- Press and hold the record button. Tell us who you are and what your favorite summer read is. Better yet, show us your book!
- Once the filming is done, post the video to your account. Be sure to tag it with #NYPLSummerBookshelf so @NYPL can help spread the word!
- As always, don’t forget to add captions to make sure everyone can enjoy your post. Before downloading, click on the square with a smiley face, then select the “Captions” icon, and Instagram will do the rest.
- All of the recommendations taken together create what the Library considers to be the first-ever virtual “library” of recommendations on Instagram.
“This project is an exciting and innovative new way for the New York Public Library to ignite more enthusiasm for books and reading,” said Brian Bannon, Merryl and James Tisch, Director of Libraries and Education at the library. “Using Instagram’s incredible AR technology to create a welcoming digital space where everyone can discuss books, share recommendations, and possibly connect with their next great summer read is totally our business. “We’re always trying new things to encourage reading and advance the work we do every day at our branches. We hope people will visit our virtual branch and try this one out.”
The #NYPLSummerBookshelf is a virtual addition to NYPL’s Summer at the Library initiative (nypl.org/summer) to provide children, teens and their families in New York City with a series of free programs, challenges and book giveaways to entertain, spark a lifelong love of reading and learning, and help students struggle against “summer slips” – when they forget what they have learned during the summer months outside the classroom.
Filed Under: Libraries, News, Public Libraries
About Gary Price
Gary Price ([email protected]) is a librarian, writer, consultant and frequent speaker based in the Washington DC metro area. He received his MLIS degree from Wayne State University in Detroit. Price has won several awards, including the SLA Innovations in Technology Award and Wayne St. University Library and Information Science Program Alumnus of the Year. From 2006 to 2009, he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com. Gary is also the co-founder of infoDJ an innovation research consultancy that supports enterprise product and business model teams with just-in-time fact finding and insights.