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The NYPL just opened a new virtual branch

All shared book recommendations will add to the library's new virtual "bookshelf."

Anna Rahmanan
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Anna Rahmanan
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The New York Public Library is making very good use of the Internet these days. 

The system just debuted a new "virtual branch" that folks can access on Instagram that will give rise to an online "bookshelf" of sorts. Once inside the custom designed interactive augmented reality effect (which you can access via Instagram Reels—more on that below), you'll be able to share your book recommendations with the general public (and get their tips as well!). 

Here's how to make use of the tool: open Instagram Reels, search for "NYPL" in the effects library and find yourself inside the virtual branch. Select a specific spot to use as your background and record yourself advising folks on what to read this summer. 

Check out some other people's recommendations by looking through the hashtag #NYPLSummerBookshelf right here

Patience at New York Public Library
Photograph: Courtesy of the New York Public Library

Celebrities and New York personalities are also joining in on the fun. Actress Rachel Bloom, for example, used the tool to suggest fans read The Mutual Friend by Carter Bays. Author Min Jin Lee, on the other hand, recommends YA novel How Do You Live? by Genzaburo Yoshino. Even the library's famous lion mascot, Patience, shared his thoughts, specifically citing Elena Ferrante's The Lying Life of Adults as the "pawfect beach read." (If you can't get enough of him, check out this hilarious video of Patience at the beach—the cutest thing you'll see today.)

Expect children's book author and influencer Eva Chen to present her picks in the near future as well.

Needless to say, suggested books will be available to take out at NYPL branches around town. 

The new program is actually part of the system's Summer at the Library initiative, which aims to offer New York kids and their families "a series of free programs, challenges and book giveaways to entertain, spark a lifelong love of reading and learning," according to an official press release. 

Just last month, in connection to the seasonal program, the NYPL actually gave away 500,000 books for free—for keeps

The city's impeccable library system never fails to surprise us in new and exciting ways.

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