20 Ways Libraries Are Using Pinterest Right Now

Pinterest is taking the social media world by storm, and it isn’t just popular with individual users. Businesses, nonprofits, and even libraries are sharing ideas and information through the site as well, connecting with people from around the country and around the globe.

Whether you’re a librarian, student, teacher, or just an avowed bibliophile, Pinterest offers another great way to keep up with creative and cutting-edge ways libraries are engaging with their communities. Read on to learn about some of the many ways libraries are helping spread the word about the resources and services they offer, using this innovative new social media forum.

  1. Pinning book covers. Many librarians are capitalizing on the visual power of Pinterest to show off book covers, especially those from new books, special collections, and kid-friendly material. It can be a great way to attract readers to books they might not have otherwise checked out.
  2. Showcasing historic archives. Libraries often have much more than books in their archives. Take the San Francisco Public Library, for instance. They’re using Pinterest to show off amazing historic images of the city, from photos of old library branches to some unbelievable WWII images of the bay.
  3. Creating reading lists. Pinterest makes it simple to create visually appealing reading lists for just about every topic under the sun. Some common lists include books made into movies, librarian recommendations, and kid-friendly fare.
  4. Sharing new acquisitions. Want to keep patrons in the loop about the library’s latest books and media? Pinterest is turning out to be a great way to do that, and many libraries are logging on and sharing their latest and greatest. Fullerton Public Library is one such library getting on the Pinterest bandwagon, and they have boards for new acquisitions in fiction, non-fiction, young adult, children’s, and downloadable media.
  5. Promoting library activities. If you’d like to stay up-to-date about what your local library is doing, consider looking them up on Pinterest. Many libraries are showcasing fliers about their events right on the image-centric site, showcasing everything from lectures, to job help, to author visits.
  6. Research. While much of what is passed around on Pinterest is fun, crafty stuff, some librarians and academics are seeing potential in the site for much more serious applications. Check out this webcast from the Association of College & Research Libraries to learn how libraries can use Pinterest as a valuable research tool, especially when it comes to tracking archival content like images and documents.
  7. Showcasing learning-related infographics. These days, there’s an infographic for just about everything out there, including reading, books, and libraries. Some libraries, like the Pinal County Library, are collecting infographics they think might be of interest to patrons in one easily accessible board.
  8. Encouraging kids and teens to read. Librarian Dawn Krause uses her Pinterest account for a wide range of purposes, but an especially cool one is collecting crafts, books, and materials that appeal to teens. She’s got loads of resources on young adult favorites like The Hunger Games, a practice other libraries looking to boost teen readership could emulate.
  9. Collecting ideas for library displays. Libraries can be magical places for young kids, especially when librarians get creative in designing reading areas, bulletin boards, and other fun places in the library. Pinterest is full of amazing ideas that can inspire any library to go above and beyond.
  10. Getting inspired for library programs. Looking to bring new programs into your library? Librarians and patrons alike can find hundreds of amazing craft and project ideas that can be built into ongoing library programs. Take children’s librarian Anne Clark, for example. She pinned dozens of ideas for fun sewing projects kids can do, flannel book and board ideas, and even storytelling props.
  11. Collecting learning materials for parents. Many parents want to help get their kids into reading but just don’t know where to look for the right materials to do so. Some librarians are helping them out by collecting printables that are fun for kids (and encourage learning) onto a publicly accessible board.
  12. Highlighting library staff members. Library staff members often don’t get the credit they deserve for the hours of dedication they put in to helping patrons. Pinterest is helping some libraries change that. Some are using the site to capture images and short bios of their employees, so the community can get to know the librarians and what makes them tick.
  13. Offering up access to digital collections. With e-books rapidly edging in on traditional books in terms of popularity, many libraries are beefing up their digital collections. Some are sharing links to new material through Pinterest and others are showcasing the wealth of free, open content available on the web through sites like Project Gutenberg and The Open Library.
  14. Running reading programs. Pinterest can be a great place for librarians to find inspiration for summer reading programs and for parents and kids to keep up with the latest reads, fun integrated projects, and much more. Many are already sharing ideas for this year’s summer reading programs, perfect for parents who want to plan ahead and librarians who are looking for creative ways to keep things fresh.
  15. Showing off things in the local community. Libraries aren’t just promoting their own programs and services through Pinterest. Many, like the Sacramento Public Library, are also highlighting local businesses, restaurants, tourist attractions, and events.
  16. Showing pictures of the library. If your library is super cool, why not show it off? That’s just what some libraries are doing, especially after undergoing a big renovation project. One such library is Escondito Library, who showcases photos of their great murals, DVD sections, meeting rooms, children’s department, and more.
  17. Sharing craft projects. Pinterest is a crafter’s paradise, and with so much to choose from, many librarians are collecting great craft ideas for the library, themselves, and to inspire patrons. It’s a great way to inspire creativity and might even get the crafts and sewing section some heavy traffic.
  18. Helping patrons start book clubs. Book clubs are a great way to not only read more but to also get a chance to discuss a book more in-depth. Some libraries, like Fullerton Public Library, are supplying links to book clubs kits (hosted on GoodReads) that provide all the essentials for understanding and analyzing some of the most popular reads of the past few years.
  19. Building a community of libraries online. Libraries aren’t just connecting with patrons, they’re also using Pinterest to connect to other libraries. Follow this link to see how one librarian is keeping track of all the libraries that are using Pinterest, showcasing some of their most unique and exciting ideas.
  20. Creating collaborative boards with patrons. Pinterest provides a way for libraries to interact with those in the community, sometimes in very fun and creative ways. Take the St. Johns County Public Library System. They created a public board called “reading pets” and asked patrons to submit pictures of their pets “reading” their favorite books.

25 Comments

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  23. Wilma

    July 25, 2012 at 6:24 am

    What about copyright when pinning book covers?

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