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Teen Librarian Toolbox
Inside Teen Librarian Toolbox


Pop Quiz: What fairly young social media site has gained over 10 million users in less than 2 years and generates more actual purchases and traffic than any other social media sites out there?

Answer: Pinterest

Pinterest is a social networking site that allows its users to “pin” their favorite websites, pictures, information and more onto pin boards and create a virtual bulletin board. It strength is how visually appealling it is, plus it is easy to use and invites a sharing of ideas.  Many people use Pinterest to store recipes (food porn it is often called), hair styles, “thinspiration” (they store photos and quotes to help them on their weight loss journey), craft ideas, organization ideas, and more. How you use Pinterest is completely up to you.  Pinterest would be a great tool for creating and sharing booklists with teens with enhanced information including websites on particular topics or crafts to go along with the board topic.  For example, you could create a board for Steampunk and pin pictures of books, websites on the topic and links to craft projects.  You could do the same for paranormal

romance, science fiction, etc.  Be careful when using Pinterest, it is addictive and can be a major time suck.  At the end of the day you end up with a variety of personalized boards that look like this:

Like many out there, TLT is on and enjoying Pinterest.  I love the visual aspect of it.  I have been workign on using it to help basically create a visual index for the TLT blog.  And for uploading and arranging some of the visual elements that are on the TLT Facebook page.

Here are some of the ways that TLT is using Pinterest . . .

The 2012 Project: As you know, we are on a mission to collect 2,012 pictures of teens using their libraries in 2012.  Pinterest works great for this project given its visual nature.  Some information is already up on the project pin board. If you want to share pictures as part of #the2012project let me know and I will make you a collaborator and you can upload your pictures directly to the board.

Craft Ideas: Sarah Dessen recently tweeted that one of the best uses for Pinterest is food porn.  Us librarians would argue it is also great for craft porn.  Here you can pin all those craft ideas that you may one day want to use with your tweens and teens. In addition to the TLT Craft Ideas page there is a great Teen Programming in Libraries collaborative board started by Heather Booth.  Right now 178 teen librarians are collaborating and sharing craft ideas and it is pretty awesome. In fact, it is awesomesauce (that’s my new favorite phrase). There are 1,246 items pinned in this board so if it is easier for you to manage, you can create your own board and repin those items that are of particular interest to you and create a smaller more personalized board.

Autism and Libraries: If you read the TLT blog (which, since you are reading this I am going to assume that you do), you know that I have a particular passion for discussing how we can better serve teens with autism in the library. I don’t have great answers or a multitude of success stories in my pocket, I just think it is a discussion that we need to be having.  So I created an Autism and Libraries board to share articles, books that you may want for your collection, and great resources to help facilitate that discussion.

I also have created boards for some of my favorite authors and publishers, blogs, library stuff in general and more. You can check them all out here. I have some great ideas that I am going to take to my branch manager about how the library can use Pinterest to do things like share storytime books and crafts, teen programming pics and staff picks.  I think that Pinterest is a tool that can have tremendous positive impact for our libraries.  In addition, if you already have a library social media site such as Twitter or Facebook you can link your Pinterest pins to those accounts so that your information shares across platforms making it easy to update all your social media tools with one fell swoop.

Some things you can do with your Pinterest boards:

  • Create booklists around themes and include enhanced content like craft projects and support sites.
  • Share pictures of past programs.
  • If you have a particular program, you can upload pictures plus craft resources and support sites on that particular topic.
  • If you are having an author visit, share a variety of resources about that author including past interviews, books, and more.
  • Have teens create and share library memes, posters, and more formally or informally. Teens are always doodling so let them know you have a space they can share their artwork.
  • Share new book releases
  • Have a board for booktrailers so teens know where to find them

Lots of publishers, websites and libraries are using Pinterest and there is some good information out there on the topic:
Library Journal: Use Pinterest to Promote Your Programs and Services
iLibrarian: 5 Ways to Use Pinterest in Your Library
Snap Retail: Why You Should be Using Pinterest

How are you using Pinterest? Please share your thoughts and ideas with us in the comments!


  1. Thanks for all of the great ideas. We're just starting to organize some Pinterest boards for our library and this helped a lot!

  2. Superb! Pinterest is a website that allows you to toss up images from other websites into little collections called “boards” (i.e., bulletin boards). I think the idea of these boards is semi-aspirational. Like a board called “Fashion” might be used as a way for the board owner to keep visual notes on fashion she would like to have for herself. All the best!~ Maria Taylor

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