Pinterest for the Library and for Life

Angie Solis, Head Editor, INALJ Missouri

Pinterest for the Library and for Life

AngieSolisIn 2012 I attended a SEFLIN (Southeast Florida Library Information Network) conference and sat in on some very useful information sessions which included using Infographics, Prezi and Pinterest.  While all these topics are nothing short of interesting and functional, I have come to learn over the past year that Pinterest is an extremely useful tool for not only one’s personal life but also for use with a business, including the library.  After years of using Pinterest in my personal life I am confident that it can be used for more than just fashion ideas or new recipes (although it’s really good at these too).  Pinterest houses a wealth of knowledge and ideas, and what’s more, it’s simple to use.Learning how to take advantage of this tool may seem daunting at first, but after a few clicks it is as simple to use as Facebook and Twitter.

First things first, here are a few facts about Pinterest so we can all be on the same page. Pinterest was launched in March of 2010 and currently 80% of its 70 million users are women. While this number may seem high, it’s actually a drop from 2012 when 87% of users were female. Pinterest is seeing an average number of article pins in the range of 5 million per day! People are using Pinterest at home, at work (4.8%) and on the go. And why not? It really is that amazing (Smith, 2014).These stats show that there is a huge, no, a gigantic audience to use (for free) at your disposal.

I would recommend creating an account and poking around the site.If you are unsure about how to use Pinterest there are some great guides out there that makes things clear.

You may be thinking that Pinterest is definitely a place where you can find a wealth of information for your personal life, but how can it be used as a tool for the library? If you asked this question, then I have the answer. Using Pinterest is about using the knowledge that is available at your fingertips to engage the community, be creative in everyday mundane activities, market the library to new and old users and create ways where everyone at the library will want to learn. Kat Werner with Public Libraries Online shares that Pinterest can be used to promote the library and share ideas (Werner, 2014). writes that libraries are using Pinterest to create reading lists, research and collect ideas for library displays (20 Great Ways Libraries Are Using Pinterest, 2014). And Ellyssa Kroski at the Open Education Database tells readers that Pinterest can be used to highlight library staff and create patron contributed boards (Kroski, 2014)All these sites and more are singing praises about how Pinterest can be used to engage the public and help libraries be more creative.

Now that you know that Pinterest can be used for more than recipes and planning a wedding, I’ve compiled a list from internet sources, my own experience and notes taken from the SEFLIN conference of ways to use Pinterest in and around your library:

  • Collect ideas for library displays
  • Get ideas for library programs
  • Collect learning materials for parents
  • Find printables and handouts that can be used in the library.

Encourage kids, teens and adult patrons to read:

  • Run reading programs
  • Help patrons start book clubs
  • Pin book covers of new releases and featured books to grab reader’s attention
  • Create reading lists
  • Share new acquisitions
  • Create Recommended Book Boards
  • Create lists of books that have been turned into movies
  • Feature the books in summer reading programs

Educate the community:

  • Showcase historical archives
  • Pin about recent research
  • Showcase learning-related Infographics
  • Create resource guides (tie-ins with slideshare, youtube, etc.)
  • Curate news and books about historical public figures
  • Share TED Talks about libraries, how-to clips, music videos and tips for using the library

Promote the library:

  • Highlighting library staff members
  • Share pictures of the library
  • @ your library to get followers
  • Promote library events and activities (pin flyers and announcements with event information)
  • Promote programs and services
  • Spread the Word About Author Talks
  • Offer library tours
  • Pin information about archives and special collections

Engage the staff:

  • Make staff collaborative boards
  • Find ideas for activities to do in the workplace
  • Encourage using Pinterest
  • Repin staff pins

Engage the community:

  • Offer up access to digital collections
  • Show off things in the local community
  • Share community activities
  • Share craft projects
  • Create collaborative boards with patrons
  • Create boards that cater to a variety of interests of the local community
  • Share great people to follow

There are so many great ideas out in the world and Pinterest helps to make those ideas more accessible. Libraries can start using Pinterest to expand their presence in the community by starting simple and moving from there. I think that the more libraries embrace new ways to engage the community, the more likely they are to survive in the ever changing environment of library science. I hope to see more libraries use Pinterest in the near future so follow me @angiepangie729.


20 Great Ways Libraries Are Using Pinterest. (2014, January 29). Retrieved from

Kroski, E. (2014, January 29). 5 Ways to Use Pinterest in Your Library. Retrieved from Open Education Database:

Rummel, J. (2014, January 2014). How to Use Pinterest for Your Library. Retrieved from Voya Magazine:

Smith, C. (2014, January 28). (January 2014) By the Numbers: 50 Amazing Pinterest Stats. Retrieved from Digital Marketing Ramblings:

tmcclary. (2014, January 29). How Public Libraries are Using Pinterest . Retrieved from NJ State Library:

Werner, K. (2014, January 29). Using Pinterest @ The Library. Retrieved from Public Libraries Online: