Through the first few weeks of the semester, the social media tool that has most piqued my attention has been Pinterest. Not only because of my nearly complete ignorance as to what it is or how it’s used, but because of its rocketing popularity among social media users. To be honest, I had never really visited any sort of Pinterest page but for a mere second or two prior to the class. My introduction to it came about via Facebook, as friends “pinned” items to their page. Looking back now with the course having shed light on the subject, I realize that two thoughts were evident back then: the majority of my friends who posted were female, and the pins focused on a single activity. In my infinite wisdom I passed this as another form of social media that neither interested me personally, nor had implications for future professional practice. Nothing could be further from the truth, articles on libraries and Pinterest abound, but more importantly, the exquisite Pinterest pages of libraries that may be found is truly incredible. The article “Pinterest as a Tool: Applications in Academic Libraries and Higher Education,” describes the Archer Library’s (University of Regina, Canada) creation of and subsequent use of Pinterest to highlight new acquisitions, library news, photos of staff, with two boards in particular catching my eye: “libraries we love,” and “what are you reading.” Each board had wonderful images and allow interactions between libraries and patrons.
Both this article and Anne Clark’s “Pinterest for Libraries” also highlight the potential for education, which I think is one of the coolest upsides to using this tool. Librarians can collaborate with professors and teachers and pin resources that will assist students in research projects. For youth librarians, there is an abundance of ideas for storytime and arts and crafts. The following quote from Anne’s article really caught my eye: “since Pinterest is a visual medium, it is easy to find things just by looking, instead of trying to remember if you filed an idea under Bulletin Boards or Display Ideas.” It is indeed a visual medium that allows for collaboration and promotion unlike any other social media tool. What better way to promote than images and video, which will leave a greater impression on the mind than any form of text based information. It’s a tool that can be used to good advantage by libraries, although it’s probably more useful for public and academic libraries. Like any social tool however, the success is based on the level of support as evidenced by the lack thereof in the LA County Public Library Pinterest’s page, as opposed to quite the opposite in the Fullerton Public Library’s page.