Wednesday 6 November 2013

Promoting Your Collection With Pinterest

I'm probably late to the party but I've recently discovered Pinterest. It's very visual and also very popular at the moment. I've recently taken over the management of our library science collection and I've been looking for something to promote it via social media that didn't require too much upkeep (like a blog for example). I liked the look of Pinterest so I thought I'd give it a go.

For those that don't know it, Pinterest is basically an online pinboard where you can share discoveries from around the web. Users create boards on a theme and then add individual pins. This is a really simple process which I do via an add-on for my Google Chrome browser. You simply click the little Pinterest logo next to the toolbar and this brings up a page with all of the images present. You can then 'pin' whichever image you like.

One of the first things that drew me to the site was the fact that it's very visual so is something a little bit outside the norm. Pins can be easily liked or shared via re-pinning on another users board. Users can also follow your board and/or invite you to pin to their boards. I thought that using Pinterest would provide an interesting way to demonstrate new additions to the library science collection and by linking the pins to the catalogue record I was able to create a sort of visual reading list, something I know other libraries have done with great success.

Once you have installed the Pinterest widget this allows you to pin any image from a site. You can edit the details of the pin, in my example I changed the basic bibliographic details and added a classmark. This can be done by clicking on the little pen symbol in the top right of the pin.

You should then see a box like the one below where you can edit the details as needed. You can also change the board that you are pinning the picture to if you like. Editing doesn't have to be done at the time of pinning, the box can be called up at any time using the little pen symbol (see above).

The next step was to make sure that the pin linked back to the catalogue record so users could go straight to it. We use Library Search so it was important to make sure that the stable URL was used to avoid users seeing just the search screen. Once the URL had been copied I pasted it into my pin details and voila!

The finished product looks like this:

A small word about copyright, which is obviously at the forefront with images. You should always respect the copyright of others when pinning something, especially for professional purposes. If in doubt ask. Having said this Pinterest is essentially free advertising for the book, similar to the way that cover photos are included in our catalogue. As social media copyright was explained to me, if you're using the image to promote/discuss the item in some way then it's a valid use of the image. More details on the use of images, copyright and Pinterest can be found here.

I'm slightly stunned to report that the site has gained nearly 400 followers in a matter of hours! I think that this really shows the popularity of Pinterest. I have no idea if this popularity will last or whether it's just the fact that Pinterest is 'the' site to use at the moment. I guess time will tell...


  1. This is great, Claire! Can you tell me how you pinned images from LibrarySearch though? I can never seem to make it work!

  2. Thanks Clair. I just used the Pinterest widget described above to pin the images, maybe it's browser dependent? I know I've had issues with Pinterest and Internet Explorer which is why I've switched to Chrome.