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Pinterest for Academic Libraries

by Joe Murphy Librarian on September 21st, 2012

Pinterest impacts the narrative of discovery and visual curation. It is a powerful tool for academic libraries that can make use of its collaborative boards and its impacts on content curation and sharing.

I presented this webcast about Pinterest and academic libraries for the Association of College & Research Libraries on 9/18/12.

Presentation slides

Pinterest fits into larger prevailing technology contexts: the year of the image, self curation, visual sharing, image as experience.

Libraries are interested in Pinterest because of its implications for content discovery/sharing, service extensions, and collaborative features.

Areas of use in academic libraries include:

• Facilitating/assisting collaboration and curation
• Curation of resources through visual subject guides
• Targeted resources for specific groups
• Featuring electronic and print collections
• Connecting with researchers and groups
• As a teaching tool.
• Highlighting the human element of your library with staff pins.
• Pin diagrams to FAQs.
• Curate instructional resources with teaching pin boards.
• Teach proper citation and attribution.


• Has ~20+ million unique visitors per month.
• Is the third most visited social media site
• Is used by 12% of the US internet population
• 20% of women and 5% of men use Pinterest
• Most age groups use it
• Pinterest has the highest percentage of women users social networks
• Pinterest drives high levels of referral traffic: more than YouTube, Google+, and LinkedIn combined.

Pinterest is spawning like-alikes, copycats, and is even influencing layout designs.

Consider optimizing your web resources for Pinterest (include pictures and add Pin It buttons).
Optimize your images for pinterest byt considering meta data.
Create a story unique to your library’s value in its community and use pins that tell that story.
Be aware of the ethical concerns arising from Pinterest and pin safely protecting intellectual property.
Leverage hashtags and @ mentions.
Use Pinterest to collect feedback.
Pinterest is now open to everyone, so it is appropriate to us it to drive projects and engagement on large scales.
Make use of the new iPad app and its built in browser.
Collaborative pin boards are a goldmine for academic libraries.

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