One of the best things about using Pinterest for me is that I never know when inspiration for library programming is going to strike. Whether it happens when I’m actually surfing through my feed of pins from boards I follow (and following a diversity of interests is key here) or when I’m combing through my RSS feed in the morning, I invariably find ideas that would make great programs. But how do you use Pinterest when you are actively trying to plan specific programs, particularly with Teen Read Week in mind?

Curating Information

The first use for Pinterest is as a visual board to present pre-curated ideas, one I use quite frequently with my Library Advisory Board when we are discussing possible ideas for special events. When we planned our Night of Writing Dangerously last year (an evening where kids came to do nothing but eat and write in a fun environment), I first projected my Writing Tips & Tricks Board as inspiration for their thoughts. Not only did my students have fun picking out the t-shirts and mugs that would become our prizes, but the infographics and tips had them asking if volunteer teachers could be “grammar police” someone could flag down with a question, or if we could use one of our glass walls to chart the rise and fall of a short story. My Hunger Games Library Programming Ideas Board absolutely made our party when the first movie came out (over half our school came to it) since it enabled students to plan Capitol hair and make up stations, Wii archery tournaments, and a Facebook Profile picture corner with life-size cardboard cutouts of the actors – and I owe it all to Pinterest.

Adding students or other faculty (or librarians) to a collaborative board is a terrific way of putting the power of idea generation in their hands. YALSA traditionally adds members of the Teen Read Week committee to the Teen Read Week 2013 Board and you can see the theme of “Seek the Unknown” played out largely in the areas of science fiction and mystery-related pins, the two pieces the majority of librarians identify as their intended focus for next week. Many minds are usually superior to a measly single mind, so collaborative boards often build off each other, and you can set your account to notify you by email when someone else pins to the board in question. There have been many instances that I see what someone pinned in an email notification and it makes me think of a whole new search term to try, a fact which brings us to our next (and most crucial) point regarding Pinterest. Read More →

CC Image courtesy of Rachel Ford James on Flickr

YALSA turns 56 this month and we want you to be ready to party! There is no better party planning tool than Pinterest, and I certainly don’t need an excuse to peruse the plethora of party planning pins, so here is your guide to an orange and blue theme YALSA party!

The ideas for your YALSA birthday party range from simple and quick to ‘ requiring a Martha-Stuart-like array of tools and attention to detail. But no matter your budget, time or money, you will find something here that can help create the perfect party and draw attention to the wonderful things that YALSA does.


I will be hosting my party in our staff break room next week, complete with orange soda, popcorn (in blue bags) and cupcakes! You can throw a party as big or as small as you like and ask for donations to support the Friends of YALSA, to provide stipends and scholarships for your fellow librarians.

Post a picture of your cake or treats to YALSA’s facebook page by June 17th for a chance to win a gorgeous apron from The Cornish Hen’s Etsy shop and a signed book!

What themes can you come up with? Or perhaps you are looking for another activity, check out the YALSA fundraising guide for more ideas!

Eighteen-year-old Becca looks at it “at least twice a day.” Sixteen-year-old Hailey estimates that she checks the site four times a week. It’s not facebook, or tumblr, it’s Pinterest, “a place where you can organize your style and personality by pictures,” as Becca described it. This fall, I’ve been surprised at the number of teen girls looking at the visual curation site in our library, and especially at how different their boards tend to be when compared with the recipe-and-decorating patterns of my own contemporaries.

Hailey has developed her presence there largely from re-pinning things. When she finds clothes she likes on other people’s boards, she said will look for other pins from the same site or pinner. “You have common interests,” she said about her Pinterest connections, ““You can learn new hairstyles, ways to do your nails, about new clothes, and new books” from them.
Read More →

I don’t know about your library, but in my high school library, crafts are king. After a stressful day, there is nothing students like to do better than to relax and use their hands to create in a group of friends. When we did our Hunger Games Party on the Friday of the movie premiere, the most popular station was the Hunger Games nail art and Capitol makeup, where over 100 students got themselves all gussied up – and then went to the movie that way!

So when I considered tying into Teen Read Week, I thought that, in addition to my displays and a horror movie night, I would add in a few crafts afternoons on our early dismissal days. What should I focus on?
Read More →

Recently on a discussion board I follow there have been numerous requests (and responses) for free, unique, or new programming ideas for teens. I have been following these threads quite closely because I, too, am always looking for fresh ideas. Plenty of us find craft ideas on Pinterest (and collaborate on this board), discover great titles on blogs, and hear from experts on webinars. But there are so many more ways to discover programming. In fact, you need look no further than your personal life. Read More →

You have probably noticed that Pinterest is getting a lot of attention from teen librarians lately. If you have not seen this site for yourself, Pinterest is a social network/curation site based on the concept of a pinboard. Users share images by “pinning” them. Followers can see each other’s boards and “repin” images they like. It’s a great way to share programming ideas, with a clean, pleasant look and an easy-to-use interface. YALSA recently used Pinterest to share ideas for Teen Tech Week.

There has been plenty of chatter on the ya-yaac listserv about Pinterest as well, mostly singing its praises, but a thread titled’ “Pinterest is awesome, but are we risking a lawsuit” gave me pause. In this thread, people linked to a couple of blog posts that expressed serious concerns with the copyright implications of “repinning” content and some conflicting messages between Pinterest’s terms of service and suggested use of the site.

Read More →

We have tons of wonderful resources at our fingertips to create an awesome environment for our teens. Maybe you’re chatting with others about what they’re doing for the Hunger Games release, or you’re scanning Pinterest for new craft ideas. You hear people talking about how such-and-such program was a huge hit, and you think, “I’ve got to try that. My teens will love it.” So you spend time and money planning this sure-fire program, or maybe you’re creating your own Teen Space so they have a place in the library that’s theirs, and the time has come for the big program, the big reveal … and no one comes. Read More →

pinterest logoThe other day I posted on Twitter, “It’s like I want 2 use Pinterest 4 everything I do, but it really doesn’t fit everything I do.” A few weeks ago I might have posted something similar about Storify. And, I know that a few years ago I was thinking the same thing about Twitter.

storify logoThose are three technologies that I’ve been obsessed with at one point or another. For some that word obsessed might be a bit over-the-top, or even seem like I have a problem. But, the thing is, the obsession is what gets me thinking about how to use these tools effectively with and for teens.

Twitter logoTake that post I wrote on Twitter. I want to use Pinterest for everything from lists of books, to lists of favorite technologies, to discussions with colleagues and teens about a host of topics. But, for each instance that I think, “I want to use Pinterest for that,” I also think to myself, “Is Pinterest the best tool for what I want to accomplish?” That’s what we need to learn for ourselves and help teens to understand. What’s the best technology tool to get the job done?
Read More →