A Publication of the Public Library Association Public Libraries Online

Using Pinterest @ The Library

by on December 27, 2012

Pinterest is a social media website that allows users to create and share virtual bulletin boards.  It’s become popular over the past year.  Many people use this site to plan weddings, birthday parties, or to get inspired to make new dishes or decorate their homes.  Libraries and librarians can also use this site to promote the library or sharing ideas.

Promoting the Library
You can promote your library many different ways using Pinterest.  The New York Public Library has a great collection of Pinterest boards that don’t just promote the library, but also help patrons do research without having to visit the library itself.  The NYPL has boards titled “NYPL’s Current Events”, “Holidays @ NYPL,” “What’s on the Menu,” “Weddings,” and my favorite “NYPL      ‘s  You.”  NYPL uses these boards to highlight activities or the holidays and to let patrons know what the staff is reading.  The Kenton County Public Library also includes boards that patrons can use as resources even if they are unable to get to the library and talk to a librarian. This library includes a “School & Homeschool Teacher Resources” board which includes links to different teaching resources.  Pinterest is especially well suited to the Ringling Museum Art Library’s collections. They have included Pinterest boards reflecting types of materials the library has including fine art & sculpture, rare books, photography, fashion & decorative arts, and even the circus. Their library boards are exceptional.

Sharing Ideas
Librarians are a collaborative group.  We create mailing lists and attend meetings so we can share information about how to serve our patrons better.  Pinterest can be great in this capacity.  The site is very popular with crafters, and you can narrow your Pinterest display to show only DIY and craft pins.  Many of the crafts on the site are complicated, but most of them could be scaled down for library use.  Most libraries also include boards for crafts and programs on their accounts.  Searching site for libraries and crafts boards pulls up a huge collection of boards with library related crafts.  I’ve started a “For the library” board on my own account, and anytime I come across an idea that I think would work for my library I just repin it to that board.

Pinterest is at its heart a social site.  Multiple people can be invited to pin to a board.  Staff members can all have access to the staff Pinterest boards, and can add as they see fit.  Depending on your library’s patron base, patrons could also be given permission to post on a board.  There are eight different Teen Advisory Board (TAB) boards on the site.  The library’s TAB Pinterest board could be open to any TAB patron who wanted to post to it.

A word of warning, with the rise of Pinterest, there has also been a rise in documenting Pinterest fails.  Many of the projects on Pinterest are not as simple as they seem, or do not come out as advertised.  I suggest that if you want to try any project you find on Pinterest, that you try it well ahead of time to make sure it will produce the desired results.

Happy Pinning!