How to Use Pinterest for Your Library

Jennifer Rummel

June 2012

Have you heard about the newest social media craze Pinterest? Not only is the site super addicting, but it’s an excellent resource for librarians. While it’s a way to connect with your favorite authors, publishers, libraries, and people you know, it’s also way to find great craft ideas, recipes, display ideas, and a way to connect your library to your community.

Social media sites are all about connections. In Pinterest, you follow boards you find interesting. You repin ideas that make you giggle, make you think, or make your creative juices flow. Similar to Facebook and Twitter interactions, every time someone comments, likes, or repins your item, you’re making a connection for your library.


As the teen librarian, I concentrate on four types of programs for teens: movies, bookish, food, and crafts. Pinterest makes is supremely easy to discover new ideas that will work. Now there’s no need to hunt through random URLS. I have pictorial reminders all in one place and in separate categories.

There are several specific classifications; my favorite is the DIY & Crafts. I love looking at crafts and getting ideas for teen-friendly crafts. On my personal account, there are several boards dedicated to crafts: Home Craft Ideas (most of these are my personal crafty ideas, but if they come out well and are easy, I’d use them for teen programming), Teen Craft Programs, Teen Fall Programs, Teen Winter Programs, Teen Spring Programs, and Teen Summer ProgramsPinterest makes it extremely easy to plan programs. If I’m ever in need of a program, I simply go to one of my boards and grab an idea.  The craft pins link to the instructions. I have programs planned for the rest of the year just by looking at my boards.

Kim, our children’s librarian, and I work together on tween programs. We’re constantly looking for craft ideas for our programs.  We have a collaborative board called Book Club Crafts where both of us can post ideas for upcoming crafts to use for our book club and monthly craft programs.

I try to have a food program every other month.  Most of my recipes involve the microwave, but sometimes  we use a stove in the staff lounge. It makes the teens feel special to use a part of the library that’s normally off limits. My board Teen Food Program has easier recipes which have fewer ingredients or take less time to create.


Besides all the great programming ideas, Pinterest is a goldmine for display ideas.  Many are ideas from other libraries. Their pictures make an easy reminder of how you can adapt their idea to fit your library.  You can also find tons of bookish items ranging from displays at other libraries, book quotes, and quotes about reading.

For Your Library

Here at Otis Library, we’re using Pinterest in a variety of ways:

Show off photos of your library connected with services you provide to the community. We have one board dedicated to Our Library which contains photos and our services. We have a pin with a map to our library, several pins of the inside of our library, and pins sharing our text-a-librarian information, our study room reservations, a snapshot of my blog, and a pin that highlights Overdrive.

Connect with your community by showcasing what your library has to offer.  We have another board that contains our past programs. We have multiple boards dedicated to books: upcoming books for fiction, nonfiction, teens, tweens, and children. These are the hottest books that we will be purchasing for the library. We display the date within the description of each book. It’s our hope that these boards will serves as a reminder to place a hold on these books.  Once the books have been ordered and are in the building, we will repin the books to our New Books boards, with the same categories. The books are directly linked to our library catalog as stated in the description of each pin. This makes it easy for our patrons to see if the book is available at the library. If the book is checked out, they may place a hold on the item.  Already, we’re seeing an increase in the holds placed on books, which we hope will lead to an increase in item circulation across all ages and genres.

With the book boards, we will be working on updating them at least once a month, but there will be a constant maintenance of the boards.  We’ve limited the access to the account to those people on staff who purchase books.  Each person with access is responsible to keep their boards (based upon their area of collection development) current and relevant.

We have boards that highlight the books available on our E-readers, books our various Book Clubs are reading, and Books Worth Reading. Links lead from these pins to book reviews from my blog and/or the library catalog. We also have a board for Summer Reading Program.  This board contains both program ideas as well as books that relate to the theme of “Own the Night.”  We also have boards with decorating ideas For the Home Library, Love your Library, Library and Book Humor, From Page to Screen, READ Posters I’ve created, The Scholarly Library which features library and book-related articles, and A Parent’s Guide to Creating a Lifelong Reader. Other fun boards feature book art and crafts made out of recycled books.

We also highlight our community with partners, resources, and businesses in Norwich through the board Norwich Places and Spaces. We have a board for Local Authors (New London County) and Connecticut Authors.  We have photos of the authors and the links go to their books in our catalog.

We’re planning to highlight two boards a month. One will showcase an author where we’ll pin book titles available at the library, related movies if they’re available, photo of the author, a snapshot of his/her website, and character outfits created using Polyvore.  The second board will be a monthly theme. The current board consists of If You Like The Hunger Games. Others will include first in series, Graphic Novels, and books used in our monthly displays.  All of the book boards are meant to highlight our collection and our extensive knowledge of books.

Get your public involved if they’re on Pinterest.  If they’re interested in becoming a contributor, you simply make the board a multi-editor board.  Add their Pinterest handle onto to the contributors and that one board will show up in their boards. You have to follow them in order for you to add their name to the list.  They receive an email notifying them that they’ve been selected. They can start pining items to the board. Our first collaborative board is Favorite Books in Norwich.  Our second is Choose Your Character’s Outfit, where readers can use Polyvore to create an outfit. They’re asked to name the character and the book when posting. To get our public aware of our boards, we’re hosting a contest with these boards, where one random entry will win a gift card.

Tips and Tricks

Pinterest has changed and at the moment you need both an invite (you can get one from the site itself) and either a Twitter account or a Facebook account. Once you have an account, it’s easy to start pinning.

For book covers, I find Barnes and Noble to be the best source. Pinterest requires large photos, which  B&N provides. The covers are also logo free, thus the cover comes across clean and fresh.

To pin regular photos, uploading works well for unique photos. For adding pins, it’s a matter of copying and pasting the photo URL. If that doesn’t work, 4YA blog shares pinning secrets for photos that might give you a hard time.

While you’re pinning the photo and adding the description, you have the option to add it to your Twitter feed. To use your own link for the pin, go into the edit button and change the link to your blog, your library webpage, your library catalog, or anything you want the public to notice.

If you’re in a hurry, there’s a handy pin it button for your toolbar, which allows you to pin from the web with just one click. If you’re on the go, there’s also a free iPhone app.

In the similar vein as other social networking sites, you can tag people in the pin’s description. For book pins, I link the photo to the catalog, but sometimes I include a review link to my blog, tagging myself in the process. It’s simply another way to connect myself to the library and the library to me.

Great People to Follow

YA Book People include:  Sarah Bean Thompson, Linda Braun, RoseMary Honnold, and authors like Meg Cabot. For a listing of YA authors on Pinterest, check out this blog post by YA Highway.

Great boards to follow for craft ideas include: Andrea Graham, Michaels, Library Ninja, Jen Bigheart, Papercrafts Magazine,  and the collaborative board Teen Programming in Libraries.

Libraries and bookish boards include: New York Public Library, Ann Arbor District Library, Burlington Public Library, CT Capital Region YA Roundtable, ALA magazine, BEA, RJ Julia, Harper Teen, Scholastic, Egmont USA, Tor, Bookpage, Simon & Schuster, Little Brown, Random Buzzers, Candlewick Press, Penguin Teen, and SLJ.

Pinterest can be used countless ways to make your library stand out. It’s a great tool for discovering new programming ideas and fresh book display ideas.  It’s even better for highlighting your collection and hooking social networking users to the library. Just like with any social networking site, it’s important to update often to hook followers into reminding them of your presence and coming back to your site, or better yet, your library.

Jennifer Rummel loves her job as a YA librarian for Otis Library in Norwich, CT. She loves teen books and reviews them at her blog Rummel is addicted to Pinterest and is always looking for fresh ideas for the library.



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  2. some interesting library ideas posted here on my Pinterest board – hope they are helpful:

  3. Sarah says:

    For an article about Pinterest I am surprised that this one has no pictures. A bit besides the point? There’s some good info, but it is very wordy when I suspect images and illustrations would be more beneficial when you are “showing” people how to use a visual tool.

  4. […] Department Chair and Academic Technology Coordinator at Hamden Hall Country Day School How to Use Pinterest for Your Library – Jennifer Rummel at VOYA 10 Resources for Using Pinterest in Your Library by Ellyssa Kroski at […]

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  6. […] Rummel, J. (2012). How to use Pinterest for your library. VOYA. June. Retrieved from […]

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