Photo booths are everywhere: Now you can even snap a selfie at the New York Public Library!


posted Wednesday, August 21, 2013 at 5:07 PM EDT


What is it about photo booths that never seems to go out of style? Hard to say, really, but these timeless, self-portrait devices are turning up in the strangest places, including one of the biggest public library systems in the world. (Yes, a library is probably the last place we'd expect to find a wacky photo booth.)

The New York Public Library in New York City has installed a pair of photo booths in two of its biggest branches: the main library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, and the Mid-Manhattan branch across the street. The devices, however, hardly resemble the classic, analog, curtained photo booths you find in dusty bars and diners. At the NYPL, they look more like digital kiosks. (This will, however, prevent people from pulling a terrifying photo booth prank such as this one.)


It's hard to knock the price for using the NYPL's modern booths -- they're free! -- or the library's attempt to increase social interaction. After the booth snaps an image of you (or you and your friends/family), they'll email it to you and post the shot on the front page of the library's website.

But what's the reason for this sudden interest in library-generated selfies?

"Photo booths, after all, have a rich history in American culture," Denise Canniff, the NYPL's Director of Engagement says. "There are books written about their legacy and artists have used them for experimentation and expression for decades. In the 1960s, Andy Warhol was seemingly obsessed with the use of photo booths, producing portraits of himself and famous faces of the era."

And they're also a lot of fun and you can share your selfies on social media using #NYPLPhotoBooth. W00t!

See some self-portraits of New York library-goers here.

(Via Gothamist)