The Daytona State College Library has gone full bore into the world of social media, first with Facebook and Twitter, then YouTube and Google+, and now perhaps the most digitally alluring newcomer to the virtual social scene – Pinterest.
That’s right, Pinterest. Not sure what it is? Just text any 20- to 50-something female (the social media site’s largest demographic) and you’re likely to hear comments like, “OMG, I love it,” or “Yes, it’s my new BFF.” Whatever the sentiment, many of 10.4 million users who have discovered Pinterest since it first launched late in 2010 (making it the fastest growing social media site in history) spend lots of time – an average one hour and 17 minutes per week – browsing a seemingly endless collection of boards organized by different subjects, tagging the ones that interest them and pinning them to their own Pinterest pages. Pinterest features literally millions of visual representations of such things as film, music, books, fitness, gardening, home décor, recipes, fashion, cars, motorcycles: you name it, Pinterest has a visual for you to pin, share and call your own.
But college and university libraries across the country also are finding value in the site as a repository of resources that can help students navigate a welter of information and data available for academic research.
Among Association of Florida Colleges institutions, Daytona State College’s library has jumped out among the leaders in leveraging the power of Pinterest to serve students, according to Emerging Technology Librarian Cheryl Kohen and Baccalaureate Studies Librarian Rachel Owens. The two recently presented Daytona State’s Pinterest initiative during a webinar of the Florida Virtual Campus, a regional library consortium.
“We started looking at Pinterest and noticed a trend that academic and public libraries were starting to create their own pages,” Kohen said. “We have so much content that we felt this was a good way to create a more fun and engaging way to reach out to our students.”
The library’s Pinterest site contains a large selection of graphical images that link to such resources as demographic data, historical references, consumer reports, medical journals and academic search engines. Users also can find Daytona State College facts and historical data, faculty publications, listings for new books, as well as what their Pinterest friends and faculty are reading.
But perhaps the most practical for students are links to discipline-specific research guides currently in development for most college academic programs. “For example, if you are a culinary management student, rather than going to the library’s homepage and getting lost in our 104 databases, you can go to the culinary management research guide and you would know which databases to use,” Kohen said.
So far, the library has published 30 research guides and hopes to have more than 100 available to students by fall semester. All will be accessible from the library’s website, but also easily accessible in a convenient and visually pleasing way on Pinterest.
And everybody knows that visually pleasing is always the most pinteresting.