In response to the shift from printed material to the digital age, the University of Pretoria’s (UP) Department of Library Services (DLS) introduced a project called InstaNovels, which aims to inculcate a stronger culture of reading among students.
“InstaNovels are mostly short stories accompanied by colourful, modern illustrations published on UP Library’s Instagram page,” said DLS Director Lindiwe Soyizwapi in an article published by University World News. The concept of InstaNovels was inspired by the New York University public library.
“This was a great opportunity to offer a tech-savvy reading alternative that is suitable for the digital age,” Soyizwapi added. “It aligns with the overall vision of the Department of Library Services, which is to establish itself as a modern, 21st-century library.”
According to Sixolile Dlungwane, DLS student intern and InstaNovel project lead, posting this material on Instagram is convenient for students, staff and social media users.
“InstaNovels make use of the Instagram story feature, where posts are available for 24 hours; thereafter, they are added to our profile’s story highlight, which is always available,” Dlungwane explained. “We chose Instagram, as it captures the most views due to this feature. This works out well because those who are not able to watch the story within 24 hours can view it anytime. The novels we feature are sourced mainly from Project Gutenberg. We vary the genre to suit everyone’s preference. We also like to link our InstaNovels to holidays or days of commemoration; for example, on Valentine’s Day, we’ll release a romance novel.”
Some of the novels selected are written by staff and students, and the DLS would like to encourage members of the UP community to release their unpublished short stories or poems on this platform.
“We have had a few student and staff publications in the past, but this is a priority for us, and we encourage budding authors to contact us if they’d like to publish their short stories here,” Dlungwane said.
If you are interested in being published on UP Library’s Instagram page, email Elsabe Olivier at [email protected]
View the InstaNovels here.