Home | My Account | Sitemap | Ask a Librarian
University of Texas Libraries
Celebrating the Life
ACRL Poster Presentation

Didn't make it to ACRL? Download a high resolution image of our poster session. Link
Inspiring Pinterest Boards
The blog Librarian Enumerations has a list of 10 academic and public libraries worth following on Pinterest. 

The Online Education Database also put together a list of 25 libraries worth following on Pinterest. 

The Library as Incubator Project - A fantastic resource with a large number of programming ideas. Their website highlights pinboards worth following on a regular basis. 

Library Pinterest Examples -- A pinboard dedicated to exploring a wide range of content from various libraries and other educational Pinterest accounts. 
Contact Us
Sarah Morris
Graduate Research Assistant, Library Instruction Services
Email: smorris@austin.utexas.edu

Cindy Fisher
First-Year Experience Librarian, Library Instruction Services
email: cynthfisher@austin.utexas.edu 

About Pinterest
What is Pinterest?
  • Pinterest is a popular social media tool and a space where users can share interests, ideas, projects, hobbies, etc. in a visually interesting way. 
  • Organizations can use Pinterest to promote services, to brand themselves, and to connect with users.
  • Pinterest is also a space of wish-fulfillment where users can imagine and share future alternatives as well as celebrate present realities. 

Who Uses Pinterest? 
  • Pinterest is used by many demographics but is predominantly used by females in the 25-34 age bracket. As an academic library, this isn't our target demographic.
  • But, according to a 2012 PEW study on the online behavior of American youth, young adults (teens and individuals in their early 20s) are highly dispersed in their social media use. Organizations also need to be diverse in their social media use in order to capture a wider audience. 
  • See the Bibliography section to learn more. 
Graph image from Mashable
Using Pinterest
 There are an almost overwhelming number of social media tools out there. Here are some reasons why we like Pinterest. 

  1. Ease of Use -- Setting up and maintaining the site are both easy tasks.  Additionally, you can maintain a strong presence on Pinterest without updating the site every day. 
  2. Outreach -- You can connect with other users across social media platforms via Pinterest by quickly pinning and linking to content on other sites. On the UT Pinterest boards, we pin content from Instagram taken by our core user base, students using the libraries. 
  3. Promotion -- Pinterest can be a great way to highlight tools, resources, or aspects of the library that can get lost in the shuffle.
  4. Collaboration -- Aside from reaching out to our users (such as students), Pinterest can be a great tool for collaboration and a way to either connect with or work with other organizations on campus. 
  5. Curation -- Pinterest is a space for digital curation and librarians can draw upon their expertise in curating physical objects in the virtual space of Pinterest. 
  6. Visualizing Value -- Pinterest can be a way to subvert expectations and reimagine the academic library. Pinterest can be used to promote modern aspects of the academic library that are unique and even unexpected. As a tool, Pinterest lends itself to sharing powerful visuals, new technologieshumoreventsideas and aspects of academic libraries that appeal to our user base, such as digital collections
Image from the UT Libraries Pinterest page
The Value of Academic Libraries
ACRL's Value of Academic Libraries Report emphasizes a series of next steps where academic libraries can demonstrate their value to their users and the general public. These steps include the following: 
  • Determine what libraries enable students, faculty, staff, etc. to do. 
  • Develop systems to collect data on individual library user behavior, while maintaining privacy. 
  • Document and augment library advancement of student experiences, attitudes, and perceptions of quality.

For more about the report, visit the ACRL Value of Academic Libraries website

Pinterest is one tool that can help demonstrate, in unique ways, the value of academic libraries for a 21st century audience. When considering whether or not to use Pinterest at your library, you can try thinking about the following questions. 
  • What aspects of your library could be communicated well visually? Remember, not everything is able to be communicated effectively via Pinterest's predominantly visual platform. 
  • What do users value on your campus and in your library?
  • What resources might users not be aware of in your library?
  • What makes your library unique? 

Image courtesy UT's McComb's Today Blog
FAQs and Comments

Could Pinterest be just another fad?

It could be, and there's no way to predict these things. But, according to a lot of recent studies, Pinterest is one of the fastest growing sites online. So it seems like a good bet at the moment.  You can read more about Pinterest's growth in our Bibliography section below.

Aren't Pinterest users mostly middle-aged white women? Why are you using the site? 
This is true! However, recent PEW studies show that young adults are highly dispersed in their social media usage and many of them are in fact on Pinterest. (See our Bibliography section for more details). But we see the value of Pinterest lying in its strengths as a curatorial platform. Pinterest provides a visual interface where we can showcase our collections, services, strengths, and personality in a way that we can't on the UT Libraries website.

I don't have time to manage another social media site!
The benefit of a tool like Pinterest is that you don't have to post daily in order to maintain a strong presence. You can also have multiple people pinning for an account, which helps to share the load of maintaining the site.

How do I get started?
Check out our Bibliography and our list of Inspiring Pinterest boards for ideas and resources to help you establish a presence for your library on the site.
Pinterest User Statistics
Crook, J. (2012). This is Everything You Need to Know About Pinterest (Infographic). TechCrunchLink.
Erickson, C. (2012). 13 'Pinteresting' Facts About Pinterest Users (Infographic). MashableLink.
Ferenstein, G. (2013). Fresh Stats on Social Networks: Pinterest Catches up with Twitter, Digital Divide Shrinks. TechCrunch. Link

Young Adults and Social Media 
Brenner, J. (2013). Pew Internet: Social Networking. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Link
Lenhart, A., Purcell, K., Smith, A., Zickuhr, K. (2010). Social Media and Young Adults. Pew Internet and American Life ProjectLink.
Madden, M., Lenhart, A., Duggan, M., Cortesi, S., Gasser, U. (2013). Teens and Technology 2013. Pew Internet and American Life Project. Link

Getting Started
Chang, A. (2012). Should You Care About Pinterest? Macworld. 29(6). 60-61. Link.
How To: Get Your Nonprofit Started on Pinterest. (2012). Nonprofit Tech 2.0: A Social Media Guide for Nonprofits. Link

Academic Libraries
Murphy, Joe (2012). Pinterest for Academic Libraries (webcast). Link.
Oakleaf, Megan. (2010). The Value of Academic Libraries: A Comprehensive Research Review and Report. ACRL. Link
ACRL Value of Academic Libraries. Website Link 

Libraries on Pinterest
Clark, A. (2012). Pinterest for Librarians. Library Media Connection. 31(3). 24-25. Link.
Dudenhoffer, C. (2012). Pin It! Pinterest as a Library Marketing and Information Literacy Tool. College and Research Libraries News. 73(6). 328-332. Link.
Dunn, J. (2012). 20 Ways Libraries Are Using Pinterest Right Now. Edudemic. Link.
Kanjilal, A. (2012). Pinterest: Revolutionizing the Way Libraries are Used. SaveDeleteLink.
Messner, K. (2012). Very Pinteresting! School Library Journal. 24-27. Link
Szkolar, D. (2012). Pinterest: A New Social Media Opportunity for Libraries. Information Space. School of Information Studies, Syracuse University. Link.