Innovation That Matters

iPad magazine brings New York Public Library's archives to life

Publishing & Media

It’s a fairly safe bet that most New York Public Library patrons are completely unaware of many of the vast, hidden collections stored there, and that’s something the library hopes to correct. Dubbed Biblion: The Boundless Library, a new iPad magazine from the library aims to bring some of its best treasures to life. The first issue in the free Biblion iPad series — now available on the iTunes store — focuses on the New York World’s Fair of 1939 and 1940, with a special focus on subjects of interest to modern users. Included in the app are original essays from prominent writers of the time, an exploration through the development of the Fair’s designs, uniforms, buildings and exhibits, and a full-color view of General Motors’ famous Futurama ride, for example. Each semi-annual edition of Biblion will open up another of the Library’s collections, services, or programs in a similar way through images, text, film, audio and more, giving users a way to “jump from stack to stack, story to story,” as the library puts it. The library explains further: “This app is designed to open up hidden parts of the collections and the myriad storylines they hold and preserve…through a unique immersive experience. In this free iPad app you will hold documents, images, films, audio, and essays — directly from the collections in your own hands.” A video on YouTube describes Biblion’s premise in more detail. Libraries are “the memory of humankind,” as NYPL notes, but they face growing financial pressures and often the threat of closure. Using current technology to engage and remind consumers of their value and relevance makes good sense. A model for libraries and arts organizations around the globe! Spotted by: Katharina Kieck



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