Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Pinterest for Libraries

In an earlier post   I wrote that I had just realized that Pinterest was not just a place to pin pretty pictures but was a social book-marking site similar to Delicious  but instead of text each bookmark was represented by an image. This changed using Pinterest for me as it meant I could bookmark instructions for making crafts and not just images to inspire me. In creating pins I now think of them as resources and not images.  Check out my Pinterest profile.  I have learned how to manipulate the placement of my boards and to set board covers so that they display the most visually appealing or relevant images. I have done lots of repinning and get excited when other repin or follow my boards.  
I have interacted more in Pinterest by repinning, liking and commenting on images and I have created a collaborative board. The board is called Social Media in Libraries which now has 8 collaborators including people from my course and library colleagues. I have also joined and collaborated on other boards such as The Librarian's List: All Time Favourite Books and What Are You Reading? 
As I am interested in how libraries are using Pinterest I have began following libraries. Most libraries are using Pinterest for promotion  Somers library  promotes books in many categories such as teen reads, bullying resources, staff picks, action and adventure. However the library has used Google to source the images and all the bookmarks or pins link back to Google. This is a missed opportunity for the library to direct traffic back to the library catalogue. The library could select a book cover image from Google and customize the URL to link to the item on the catalogue. Fullerton Libraries has linked all its book recommendations to the library catalogue.  
Libraries are also promoting events and services on Pinterest with images of flyers and photo of events and the best libraries are directing user back to the library websites
One of the essentials of social networking is participation. Followers of library boards can like, repin or comment on a library pin. Some libraries are more active in encouraging participation by inviting patrons to collaborate on boards. New York Public library invites patrons to pin images with the hashtag #NYPLLittlelions images of cats that represent the library logo of a lion. NYPL then searches on Pinterest for this hashtag and pins the image to their Little Lions board. Fullerton Library has 68 collaborators on its Patron Favourites board 
The one issue I have encountered in the literature about Pinterest is that of copyright and intellectual property on images that are pinned (Ferguson, 2012, p.84). Anecdotally, many companies are happy to have their contents pinned as it increases traffic to their website, however if in doubt libraries should not pin images that they don't have the copyright of or permission form the artist (Hayden, 2012, p.169).

Summary for using Pinterest in Libraries
  • Use Pinterest for both promotion and to engage users
  • Link image such as book recommendations and new acquisitions back to the library catalogue
  • Pin Regularly to keep users engaged and giving them content to like, repin or comment on
  • Look for ways to collaborate on boards with patrons
  • Be aware of copyright issues.

Ferguson, Cris (2012). Technology Left Behind — Pinning in the Library. Against the Grain, 24(3), 83-85. Retrieved from
Hayden, Beth (2012) Pinfluence : The Complete Guide to Marketing Your Business with Pinterest. Hoboken, New Jersey: Wiley.

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