When it first launched in 2009, Pinterest was primarily the home of graphic designers, artists, photographers, and fashion designers. Although currently still in beta, the site has expanded exponentially over the past few months, allowing thousands of new users to join by simply requesting an invitation. Now, the social media platform is home to crafters, wedding planners, teachers, parents, silly cat photo lovers, and of course, librarians. As a result of this influx of new and diverse users, Pinterest content and uses have evolved.
Pinterest for Ideas
What do I have in common with a self-described “southern Christian mom from the beautiful Ozark mountains?” Not much, it would seem. Except that I, too, love messy, sensory-rich, homemade art and science projects. And Jessica (ibeejc on Pinterest) is a wealth of knowledge when it comes to making various kind of goop, sensory bins, and marshmallow men. It was via Pinterest that I discovered her terrific blog featuring art, craft, and science activities.
Pinterest allows users to create Boards to organize and separate images into clusters. On my Pinterest, for example, I have one board called Storytime Resources & Ideas. On that board, I pin creative storytime crafts, photos or videos of librarians performing read alouds, and links to blog posts or articles about early literacy training for librarians. I can search within Pinterest to find new ideas and also post my own to share.
Pinterest for Collaboration
Pinterest also allows users to add co-collaborators to boards. This feature has proved especially useful for intra-departmental projects. For example, my staff and I have been chatting with our User Experience coworkers about revamping the design elements on the Kids section of our library’s website. In the past, we might bookmark websites we like, print out screenshots, and send links via email. This time around, we’ve created a board called Children’s Library Website Mood to collect photos, illustrations, websites, graphics, design elements, and links to relevant content from multiple sources. All of the children’s librarians in our department have the ability to pin content to that board. When we meet as a group next month with our tech-savvy colleagues to discuss website design changes, we will have a rich, visual presentation of what we would like see in the future upgrade.
Pinterest for Bookmarking
Many Pinterest users create boards to bookmark and organize web content around a specific subject or theme. For example, we’ve been discussing STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Technology) at my library and ways that we can provide programming to support STEM skill-building. In the course of my research, I’ve come across national initiative websites, teacher blogs, afterschool clubs, lesson plans, videos, and grant opportunities. In the past, I may have bookmarked these sites into a folder or added them to Delicious. I find it much easier (and rather more fun) to “Pin it” using the browser add-on. That means that as you are browsing the web, you can quickly pin visual content on almost any webpage. The neat part is that you are also able to create a hyperlink to that content. Unlike a folder of bookmarks, should I ever be called upon to present my findings, I have a much more engaging presentation to share.
Pinterest for Booklists and Reader’s Advisory
Several libraries have now added“Pin it” buttons to their OPACs. Similar to Facebook’s “Like it” or Twitter’s “Tweet it”, clicking “Pin it” from a catalog record will automatically add the cover image to your designated Pinterest board and create a hyperlink to the catalog record. The first time I tried it, this blew my mind! What interesting possibilities there are for booklists (as well as other media.) My first experiment was creating a board for the 2013 Connecticut State Book Award Nominees (known as The Nutmegs.) Within minutes, the cover images and links were repinned by several moms and fellow educators- including one local mom who started following me. Can I count that as a Reader’s Advisory statistic? The opportunities for reaching out to our patrons are intriguing. Imagine a book club board: What content might patrons and staff want to pin surrounding a thematic book discussion? Recipes, fashion, links to articles?
How are you using Pinterest?