Pinterest is a Valuable Tool for your Library

By:  Jennifer Fording
Harris-Elmore Public Library

Have you considered using Pinterest for your library? Maybe you should…at least partly.  This social media site has been around for less than a year and has already generated a public frenzy! Not bad for a site that is invite only.

For those of you late in the game here, Pinterest is a social networking site that is based on reccommendations and works like a virtual pinboard.  There are “pins” or photos of different things in most any genre that one would be interested that lead you to websites that tell you more on how to do that item/activity for yourself.  You pin it to your own boards in catergories that you create, making an organized list of items that you love.  The pins that show up on your feed are recommended for you based on your interests and what your friends/followers are pinning.  It is quite addicting!  Here is a good site called Mashable that explains the ins and outs of using Pinterest–especially for beginners.

So what can your library do with Pinterest? It is an excellent way for libraries (especially those with larger audiences) to create visual displays of their resources and services. Below are snapshots of Pinterest sites for the State Library of Ohio and Tipp City Public Library (Ohio).



Here are some ideas on using Pinterest for your library…

* Creating Boards for New Books that the library has gotten that month

*Promoting your library Staff

*Promoting Library Displays or Rare Collections
*Boards for major or popular collections to showcase
*Promoting activities, author visits, summer reading, other programming
–also in the pin provide links to learn more about the program, photos of the program, and links to your own website!
*Tech Tips
*Starting Book Clubs
*Reading Lists/Readers Advisory
*Collecting Learning Materials for Parents

Also a bonus…all of your boards can be easily shared on your library Facebook and Twitter Pages!

More ideas can be found at Eudemic –which shows the top 20 ways to use Pinterest in libraries.  Also here is a link from Library Journal that tells you how to optimize Pinterest for your library.

You need to be sure when you make a site for your library that someone is able to update it at least once a week with pins that are of interest to your users and the links will always go back to your library site and to your other social networking pages.

There are some downsides, that hopefully will be fixed in the future. The site is invite only–but the library can have an email or facebook account that could easily invite patrons that have interest in following the library. Also when using websites as pins, sometimes the photographs on the site you are using are not pinnable.  In addition, the search can be a bit finicky and it may be difficult to find the library pinterest site—so have the url ready in other areas of the library for people to take.

Now if creating a Pinterest site for your library seems like too much work or perhaps you feel that not many of your patrons are into this fad quite yet—NOT A PROBLEM!  You can still use Pinterest for inspiration!  I use my personal site to get ideas for Library Displays, Kid/Teen Crafts, Programming, Food, ETC. Let me show you…

See? Pinterest can be used for so many things.  Take a look at it, if nothing else, than for inspiration and ideas.

To learn a bit more about how you can use Pinterest to the advantage of your library, try this online webinar by the Ohio Library Council.  It begins on May 22, 2012 and you need to click the link to register.  $20 for members and $40 for non members–take a look at “Interest in Pinterest?”


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