So I haven’t posted in the past two days for multiple reasons: wanted a break from school-work, got insanely sick all day yesterday, was waiting for an invite to Pinterest, and once I received said invite, spent half the day in bed “pinning” things to my “Wedding Ideas” board. Needless to say, Pinterest is as addictive as all of my friends had said. Pinterest is a “virtual pinboard.” Their website states that it “lets your organize and share all the beautiful things you find on the web.” People can use pinboards for just about anything, from redecorating their homes to planning their wedding. The site also combines the social networking aspect as well; individuals can browse pinboards created by other people. Their website says that “browsing pinboards is a fun way to discover new things and get inspiration from people who share your interests.” After [finally] receiving my invite to Pinterest, I jumped right in and found it was really easy to navigate and use. After creating my profile (Pinterest takes you through the steps once you register), I did a quick search for “weddings” to start building my board. From there, I could search for that key word in pins, pinboards, or people. I found that searching for key words on pinboards was most beneficial as the search brought up many pinboards and I “re-pinned” a bunch of images from each board.
When I decided to choose Pinterest as one of my “things” I was a little worried. I mean, why and how are libraries using it? I did a Google search for “How are libraries using Pinterest?” and I was pleasantly surprised to find a great number of search results with almost that exact title! One website lists 20 ways that libraries are using Pinterest (http://savedelete.com/pinterest-revolutionizing-the-way-libraries-are-used.html). They are pinning book covers in order to give readers a visual list, posting reading lists for reading challenges, attracting the younger generations, displaying archives, informing patrons about new acquisitions, pinning research materials, promoting the library, promoting library activities, sharing infographics related to learning, sharing their digital collection, managing reading programs, sharing ideas with parents, bringing focus on the library staff, getting new ideas for library displays, collecting ideas for programs, drawing attention to the local community, sharing craft projects, connecting to other libraries, encouraging book clubs, and of course, most importantly, interacting with patrons.
I found a blog by librarian, David Lee King (http://www.davidleeking.com/2012/03/15/pinterest-for-libraries-what-were-doing/#.T8tnZbDWZLk) who has created a Pinterest account for his library, the Topeka Library (http://pinterest.com/topekalibrary/). King has set up goals for the account, such as posting 9 pins a week, focusing on the library and community, and focusing on things that will make people “click.” The library’s account has 16 boards ranging from staff picked movies, books, and music, to craft ideas, to recipes, to crafts. I especially like how their Pinterest account not only gets the community involved, but gets the staff involved as well. King is not the only one who “pins” items to the boards. He states that most of the work so far has been done by Jeff Tate, the Digital Branch Librarian and a group of staff.
Individuals are also using Pinterest to promote libraries. I found one user, Laura Gentry, who has created two boards with library examples. The first (http://pinterest.com/lauramgentry/library-pinterest-examples/) is taken from academic and special libraries and archives. She says that she is in the process of putting together a presentation on how these types of libraries are using Pinterest. In her second board (http://pinterest.com/lauramgentry/other-libraries-using-pinterest/), “each pin serves as a placeholder to a library on Pinterest” and it features public libraries and media centers.
I think Pinterest is an excellent tool for libraries to use. I think that list of 20 ways to use Pinterest pretty much nailed it on the head. It’s important for libraries to connect to their patrons, and sometimes the best way to do that is by utilizing the newest social media or technology. Pinterest allows users to view libraries’ boards and “re-pin” items they like. I think after I post this, I’m going to spend the rest of the day looking for archives on various library boards, mainly old photographs (I love ‘em!). Even if I’ll never go in person to the Topeka Library for instance, I could see what they have to offer. Using Pinterest to show archives and special collections reminds me of the Google Art Project (http://www.googleartproject.com/). There are so many of those museums that I’ll never get to go to, but by using this website, I can see works as if I was standing right in front of them. Maybe the next step after Pinterest, in the future, could be something similar for library collections. It would be an extremely time-consuming endeavor, but I think library patrons from all over the world would greatly benefit from something like a “Library Collections Project.”