How to turn Pinterest into a weapon of mass diffusion for librarians

There are 8,835 libraries in Spain where currently work more than 20,700 librarians (source: National Institute of Statistics). During meetings and conferences it is a litany among librarians the demand for better e-skills and specifically e-marketing for their collections and services. Pinterest is really the ‘new thing’ for most of them.

Libraries in Spain are interested in Pinterest as a media for disseminating their collections and new adquisitions, but also for sharing pictures about reading and books, curating contents and other purposes. The main objective is showing the work of libraries and connect with people who loves books and reading in general.

Spanish libraries are also interested in other social networks, like shown in the professional bibliography. There are not reliable and complete data about the number of libraries on social media, but everything suggests that Facebook is the most used one, followed by Twitter.

The interest in Pinterest in unquestionable, as shown through blogs, discussion lists, a group on Facebook, webinars and other professional forums, but also through the large and growing number of libraries from Spanish-speaking countries in Pinterest, more than 400, when we search the word ‘Biblioteca’.

How to turn Pinterest into a weapon of mass diffusion for librarians? Which are the opportunities digital marketing can bring to strengthen the work and role of librarians? Pinterest e-book for librarians (*), the e-book I wrote in collaboration with Natalia Arroyo, an expert at introducing digital to libraries offers a perspective on this topic. According to Natalia there are ‘over 225 Spanish librarieson Pinterest. This community has taken a sharp interest in it and uses it, mainly, to diffuse novelties, but also to uncover patrimonial assets, such as the curating platform for content, as well as other ends. Some libraries are reaching an unprecedented success with followers. The ability to contact the final user is what distinguishes Pinterest from other social networks and makes it unique. Its aptitude to make contents viral and configure its own platforms promotes connections based on common interests’.

She develops a detailed manual in the e-book that enables librarians to exploit the possibilities of this tool and  indicates that, ‘originality, guiding the community and leadership are the qualities that a library should show in order to triumph in this medium. Originality concerning its contents, leadership and guidance in the community to suggest content areas in which others can take part. Not in vain, the collaborative walls are the common ground for librarians with the highest indexes of followers on Pinterest’.

I think librarians have the possibility of being leaders in the new framework that centres on content: the whole sketch is made up of variables such as receptivity, flexibility and the ability to adapt, in this case, on behalf of the libraries. These elements make up an experience that has a crucial role in our time. Libraries are realms in which guidelines such as the ones just described can develop and connect with the ethics of the libraries’ services. My focus originates from the vision of the library’s work as a Service Network, a system in which services are related in an attractive and enriching fashion for the readers, who also participate in generating the value of this experience.

In the video above a librarian who is also an expert in the leverage of Pinterest such as José Ignacio Gallego from the Politécnica Univertsity of Madrid Library (UPM) emphasises the ease with which accounts are maintained on Pinterest as one of its advantages above others, and he hopes in a near future it will offer more data revealing the impact of the library’s actions.

During one of his interventions, Gallego explains that they are also followed by education professionals, because the library tries to work on what it calls ‘transversal competencies –all those things that aren’t directly related to our training but to that which the common library seeks to contribute, all the things we teach at university: issues concerning learning, digitalisation, teaching, study…’.

The account belonging to UPM’s library on Pinterest is followed by libraries and librarians from Spain, but also from countries like Japan, USA or Australia. According to Gallego, part of its impact is the result of Pinterest’s flexibility and the fact that the social network’s greatest strength is the image, which enables ‘people who don’t even know who we are but see how we organise our resources, [to become] interested, and follow us’.

For Gallego, amongst the ways Pinterest should improve its performance, and he trust it will, figures the scarcity of data. ‘We have little feedback of our own behaviour on Pinterest. For us, for a library, it is very important’ he claims, ‘to know the impact that we are having. Because although we don’t want to sell anything, we like to feel sure through data, about what we are involved with’.

He also shows enthusiasm ‘because we are having a great impact. We are followed by people in Japan, USA and Australia, followers, people who like and use our resources. That had never happened to us on a social network. The other social networks are more limited” he assures, ‘on Facebook we are followed by people who have more in common with us and are closer to us’.

* Lectyo’s users can freely download the Pinterest e-book for librarians in various formats.


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