The New York Public Library’s Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue in Manhattan.
Photo: Shuttershock

The New York Public Library Is Turning Instagram Into a Digital Bookshelf

A new program called Insta Novels adapts stories like Alice in Wonderland and The Metamorphosis to the social media platform

The New York Public Library is launching an initiative that aims to bring cherished literature to an unlikely platform: Instagram Stories.

Dubbed Insta Novels, the venture is slated to publish full novels on the NYPL’s Instagram account, starting with the beloved classic Alice in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, via the platform’s Stories function. They’ll start at the beginning of the book and post new sections every day.


Visitors can tap through at their leisure, flipping through pages much like they would on an e-book. Accompanying the pages of text are animated illustrations by Magoz, a Brooklyn-based artist. For each new book, the library will enlist the talents of a new artist to illustrate it. NYPL joined forces with the advertising and creative agency, Mother in New York, to create Insta Novels. 

The covers of the Insta Novels are each designed by a different artist. Photo: The New York Public Library

Stories will be archived each day and add them to the account’s Highlights, so followers can access them at any time, turning their Instagram into a digital bookshelf of sorts. 

In the coming months, Insta Novels will take on two other literary works that will be released on the NYPL Instagram account: “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a short story by Charlotte Perkins Gilman illustrated by Buck and The Metamorphosis, a novella by Franz Kafka illustrated by César Pelizer. NYPL said in a statement on their website that the program aims to make great stories available even more widely. 

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