The first digitized story, 'Alice in Wonderland,' launched Wednesday

By Dana Schwartz
August 22, 2018 at 03:30 PM EDT

For all those who see young people on their smart phones as cause to bemoan the death of literature, the New York Public Library would like a word with you.

In partnership with creative agency Mother in New York, the NYPL has launched a new series of “Insta Novels” that can be viewed and enjoyed for free on the library’s Instagram Stories page. For their first “Insta Novel,” the entirety of Alice In Wonderland by Lewis Carroll has been uploaded into @NYPL‘s stories, interspersed with original illustration by designer @Magoz.

Although most Instagram stories only last 24 hours, Instagram’s “Highlights” feature means the digitized Alice in Wonderland will remain available and accessible at any time.

“Instagram unknowingly created the perfect bookshelf for this new kind of online novel. From the way you turn the pages, to where you rest your thumb while reading, the experience is already unmistakably like reading a paperback novel,” said Corinna Falusi, Partner and Chief Creative Officer, Mother in New York. “We have to promote the value of reading, especially with today’s threats to American system of education.”

In a press release, the library also stressed its efforts to integrate the feel of paper books with this new digital arena: “The Instagram-specific design includes stills and videos that mirror the unique layouts of the original works. The background is a warmer white that’s easy to read on screen, and the font is Georgia, a typeface that pays homage to the history of the written word in both print and digital (it was one of the first serif fonts ever designed for screen to make long form text more pleasing and legible).”

The Insta Novel program will continue in the coming months with Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s groundbreaking short story “The Yellow Wallpaper” illustrated by Buck (@buck_design), and The Metamorphosis, a novella by Franz Kafka illustrated by César Pelizer (@cesarpelizer).

There is music to accompany the Instagram literature, so if you’re watching in an actual library, remember to wear your headphones.