Top Libraries for Academic Libraries to Follow on Pinterest: Part Deux

libraries on pinterest

I wrote the Top 10 Libraries for Academic Libraries to Follow on Pinterest back in 2013, but with so many new boards popping up I thought I’d add to the list (as a side note I noticed just about every library has either a Downton Abbey or cat-related board!). I used the same criteria:

  • Post quality content for repinning- This includes content that promotes research, innovation, best practices, etc
  • Generate inventive boards
  • Employ creative titles
  • Do not overpost or have too many boards
    • Some libraries have started using Pinterest like a Libguide, pinning all their books on their boards. I’m not a huge fan of this. I think it’s great to pin some new arrivals or staff picks, but when you get too crazy it becomes overkill.
  • I have a post: How Libraries are Doing Pinterest Wrong that lists some popular Pinterest pitfalls to avoid

University of Texas Libraries

UT is a great example of properly utilizing boards on Pinterest. They don’t go overboard, the titles are creative and informative, and the pictures that are pinned are well chosen.

Boards to check out: Yeah We Have That and Study Inspiration

American Libraries Magazine (ALA)

Their profile picture is a little pixelated, but I like the board topics they chose. I especially appreciate that they only do a board for their current annual conference, and delete boards of past conferences. To me this keeps their page relevant.

Boards to check out: Bookmobiles and People with American Libraries

Kansas City Public Library

I wouldn’t give them high marks for photo quality (some are pretty blurry and text heavy) or board brevity, but I chose them because of their creative titles and board themes.

Board to check out: Book-Inspired Crafts (very well curated)

British Library

I loved the British Library’s board titles! Manuscript Monday, BLogs, and The Pen is Mightier than the Sword…awesome monikers.

Boards to check out: Unexpected Libraries, Made with the BL

University of St. Thomas Libraries

This board seems to be just getting started (they have a few blank boards), but I love the Best Study Spaces idea. The board needs to be curated a little more but the idea is great. As an undergrad I was always looking for places to nap/study and it was always a hunt for the perfect spot. this could be a fun group board where students pin their favorite study locals.

Board to check out: Best Study Spaces

Cambridge University Library

This library has a solid collection of carefully selected pins. I like the fact that they didn’t go overboard on the history of the library pins (you can go crazy with those).

Board to check out: How We Work– A fun look behind the stacks!

Condé Nast Library

The photos these libraries picked are outstanding. The content they selected isn’t overwhelming and the photos are interesting and entice you to click to find out more!

Board to check out: Art and Photography

University of Las Vegas  Architecture Library

They have wonderfully vivid shots of architecture. These boards are also great because they appeal to a library and non-library audience.

Boards to check out: Competitions/AwardsTiny Spaces

Museum at FIT

Ok this isn’t technically a library, but their boards are fantastic! They are a great example of how to properly use photos on Pinterest. They are great quality, organized well, and eye catching.

Board to check out: Strike a Pose

What are your favorite libraries to follow on Pinterest?



How Libraries are Doing Pinterest Wrong


Ok, I admit it I am one of the 71% of women on Pinterest. I use it to get travel, culinary, decorating inspiration and I pin whenever I find something awesome I want to remember later. I also pin for my library, but unlike my personal Pinterest account, my library account is much different. I have noticed recently that many libraries are (in my opinion) using Pinterest incorrectly. Here are some of the ways:

1) They are glutting up people’s feeds

Posting a lot at one time gluts up your followers’ feeds. I don’t want to see a bunch of books that take up several pages of my feed.

2) They are pinning the same thing on different boards.

In the example below this pinner pinned the same book on different boards. Which is fine, but when pinned simultaneously it results in duplicates in my feed that I don’t want to see. It is my recommendation to select one board per pin and stick with it (even if it falls into multiple categories).

Wrong Way to Pin

3) They are using Pinterest like they use Libguides

A lot of library accounts that I have run into post all the new books in their collection. That is great for a Libguide but not for Pinterest. Pinterest is public, with a much wider user base. And as such, you as the pinner, should only pin a smattering of your collection. “The best of” so to speak. If you’ve noticed that you’re not getting a whole lot of repins on a certain type of pin that you pin frequently, stop pinning. Chances are, it’s not relevant to your audience. In my opinion a “New Arrivals” Libguide would be better for this. If you don’t have Libguides and want to use something comparable don’t use Pinterest try using a website like Wix.

4) They are posting things they personally find useful/interesting 

I love cats, but I’m not going to post cute cat pics all over the library’s Pinterest account because not all students necessarily share my fondness for felines. If you come across a great collection development resource or cute picture pin it to a private board or onto your personal Pinterest account.

5) They are using poor quality images

Small and/or pixelated images do not encourage repins or clicks. They are normally bypassed for visually appealing images.

In my opinion libraries should be using Pinterest they way brands do. It can garner interest, spark participation, and promote innovation if used properly. The infographic contest that I created was a huge success in my library and showcased the awesome graphic abilities of our students. If you look at major brands on Pinterest they are not pinning like crazy at one time. They are pinning relevant interesting material, in spaced time increments, that organically works as a promotion tool. Here is a great list of 5 Brands Winning at Pinterest that would be a great tool to utilize. Also the Mashies nomination list for Best Use of Pinterest is another awesome resource.

According to a recent study by Piqora “a pin on Pinterest is worth 25% more in sales than last year and can drive visits and orders for months.” How does this translate to libraries? If used correctly Pinterest can drive more checkouts, more visitation, and more interaction.  Redpepper has a fabulous article about how Kirkland successfully used Pinterest, which includes using Pin-worthy photography, sweepstakes, and partnering with bloggers. Libraries could use many of these tips for their own accounts.

Best Contests for Pinterest

Looking for a way to engage your patrons/customers/students? How about a Pinterest contest?! Pinterest contests can be a great way to engage your audience as well as sneak in digital literacy skill development that is fun and exciting to learn!

I have been scouring the interweb to curate a list of past and present Pinterest contests as well as some of my own thought formations. If you have any to add I’d love to hear them!

Interactive Image Contest

Repin to Win/Pin It to Win It

This has been done by various entities and is an effective way to expose your products to a wider audience. Here are some guidelines to checkout before you start your contest. Examples:

Library Repin to Win ideas:

  • New book arrivals
  • Your favorite booklist (using Goodreads)
  • Best places to study
  • Best study apps
  • Best YouTube songs to study to (pinning a video can be found here)
  • Have a “database/resource of the day/week” on your library’s Pinterest board that students can repin.

Theme Contest

  • Create Pinterest board based on a specific theme, best board wins (based on a set rubric) or board with the most likes wins, etc
  • Syracuse University’s Future of Librarianship contest

Guess this Image

  • Contestants can answer in the comments area. Here are a few examples that you can adapt for Pinterest:
  • SBCC’s Luria Library
  • Yahoo (see below):

Snapshot Jackpot

The UMHB Alumni association hosted this contest for Instagram but it could be adapted for Pinterest. The contestants were required to visit a particular place on campus, take a picture of the building, upload the picture to Instagram, and tag it #umhbcharterday13. The pic with the most likes won $50. (With Pinterest’s new hashtag capability this is an awesome contest to try out!)

Clue Contest


Video contest

  • Have users upload a video to YouTube based on a specific theme, then pin to Pinterest w/ a specific hashtag
  • JoAnn

Infographic Contest

  • During the spring 2013 semester I created an infographic contest. Students were required to create an infographic (using their own software or an infographic generator like or piktocahrt) and post it to Pinterest, Twitter, or Facebook w/ the hashtag #tmlinfographic. Infographics were judged on a set rubric by faculty.
  • Here’s a link to the contest page


Daily Photo Challenge

  • Each day has a new challenge: your minor, your major, best (school color) combo, etc
  • Entries post to Pinterest w/ hashtag and @yourlibrary/company (ex: tmlphotochallenge, @umhblibrary)
  • Quinnipiac University’s #quphotochallenge