What is Pinterest?

Pinterest is a bookmarking site that enables you to save and categorize the things you like.  Primarily image based, it is a virtual pinboard for “natural curators.”  The intention is to save or “pin” inspirational pictures or interests for yourself and to share with others.  Part of the popularity of Pinterest seems to be the satisfying element for those who post as well as those who peruse it.  The sharing of things rather than personal updates connects strangers with shared interests and tastes.

Though accessible by invitation only, it has reached the 10 million monthly visitors mark after just 2 years.  According to Hitwise, Pinterest is one of the top 10 most trafficked social networking sites.

Who is doing what with Pinterest?

Whatever inspires seems to be pinned and repinned.  People pin pictures for inspiration for their blog writing.  People use pins to get traffic to their websites and blogs. Pins are used to advertise products for sale.  People collect decorating tips, recipes, DIY instructions, and craft ideas to name a few.

What can Pinterest do for you?

Libraries are using it to connect to patrons and collaborate with other librarians.

Boards have been created to spotlight the staff, promote an author, publicize book groups, call attention to special programs, encourage a patron competition, to name a few.  See some examples at the following links:;

Go directly to the site to request an invite yourself. is the site. Watch the following tutorial on Pinterest so you’ll be ready to get started once your invitation arrives.

Let’s Give It a Try!  Complete the following activities and write about this experience in your blog.

1.  Once you have received your invite, be sure to add your “Pin It” button to your bookmarks bar.  Then browse the web or go to your favorite blog site and pin something using this button. Pin one image from your own library’s site.

2.  Create at least 2 boards of your own on any topic you wish.  Start by repinning from other boards.  Sign in and follow these steps: Go to add, create a board, give the board a name, and select the category under which the board fits. Click the red Pinterest Logo word, and your screen will fill with other people’s pins.  Select pins to add.  Simply scroll over the image and your choices of “repin”, “like”, or “comment” will appear.    If you know of something on the web you want to include, feel free to pin that to your board(s) as well.

3.  Locate 3 people whom you would like to follow.  Include their names and categories in your blog posting.

4.  Now that you have played a bit with Pinterest, create a board specifically to collect ideas for a specific library display.  The search window may help you locate related images.

Extension (Optional):  Once your library board is complete, post on your library’s Facebook and/or Twitter pages and track the “like its”.

Further Exploration (Optional):  Pinterest: The digital answer to cork bulletin boards

This Learning 2.0 module was originally designed and implemented by students in Dr. Michael Stephens‘ Transformative Literacies class in the Spring of 2012 (LIBR 281-12).  This class is part of San Jose State University’s School of Library and Information Science curriculum. It was authored by Lori Schwarz for Bethlehem Public Library. It is available for use for other libraries or institutions.  This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.

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