Sharing Content - Pinterest, Tumblr, Instagram, and Flickr

Once you’ve created your visual social media images, how do you share it with the world? Many libraries already have Facebook pages they use to share visual content. Facebook is an excellent platform for sharing this content; however, the audience is somewhat limited to those patrons that like your page and those that share your content. There are many other social media platforms out there designed specifically for sharing visual content.


Alexa ranks Pinterest as the 12th most popular website in the United States. According to the social sharing company ShareThis, Pinterest has surpassed email as the third most popular channel for sharing information and is growing faster than Facebook and Twitter (source: Pinterest is huge, with about 70 million active users – the majority of them women. Users with a Pinterest account can create virtual pinboards and ‘pin’ visual content to them either through image uploads or by linking to images online. Most pinboards are public, so even users without accounts can browse them.

One of the advantages to using Pinterest is its reach. Unlike Facebook posts, Pinterest pins are searchable, so users don’t necessarily need to be following you to find your content. For example, if you post an image of one of your winter storytime crafts, a user searching for winter crafts may stumble upon your photo and ‘pin it’ to their pin board. Someone else browsing that person’s pinboard may see that craft and share it again, and so on. You can reach across the country and even internationally this way. What a great way for us to share content on a worldwide scale!

What about reaching your own patrons? If your patrons have an account, they can follow you on Pinterest and your visual content will show up in their feeds. They can then share this info with other Pinterest users they think will be interested. For example: if a parent or caregiver sees a preschool event flyer posted on your page, they can directly share that flyer with their other friends with small children by sending that pin to them. And for your patrons without accounts? They would still be able to access and browse your Pinterest page and pinboards by searching for your account. Or, you could post links to your Pinterest pages on your library’s website.


A few ways your library can use Pinterest:

·  Create pinboards that highlight new books or special collections. Link these images to your OPAC so that users interested in an item can easily place a hold on it right then.

·  Share your storytime crafts and books online with parents and caregivers.

·  Share event flyers (as .pdfs or .jpgs).

·  Create pinboards with book lists or ‘if you liked….’ Lists

·  Share photos from your favorite library events.

·  Share historical photos of your library and town


Library Pinterest pages:

·         Glen Rock Library, NJ:

·         Nutley Public Library, NJ:

·         NYPL:

·         Kansas City Public Library:

·         CSLP Summer Reading:             

·         LibraryLinkNJ:



Tumblr is one of the largest microblogging platforms on the web with over 174 million blogs. A microblog is a blog with short posts that usually rely on imagery and maybe a few short sentences. Tumblr has a very active user base that creates close to 100 million daily posts (source: Why should libraries be a part of Tumblr? Because a huge number of its users are teens and young adults under the age of 25 – a very elusive group for libraries. Also, because it’s easy to use, looks great, and is full of libraries and librarians. Check out the LJ Review article The Library Is Open: A Look at Librarians and Tumblr by Molly McCardle about the librarian/Tumblr phenomenon:


How can libraries use Tumblr?

·         Highlight upcoming and past events

·         Share images and library updates

·         Select patrons to guest blog a few posts

·         Post short, two sentence book reviews


Library Tumblr Pages:

·         New York Public Library:

·         Chicago Public Library:

·         NJLA Member Services:

            ** Danielle Cesena from the Belleville Public Library does an excellent job creating the meme content for the NJLA Member Services Tumblr.

·         LibraryLinkNJ:



30 million accounts and over one billion photos strong! Instagram is a photo and video sharing social media website that allows users to take images, apply a range of filters and upload and share them. Instagram is different from the other social media networks in that it is primarily used as a mobile app. Users generally take photos on their cell phones or tablets, caption and instantly upload them. The overwhelming demographic using Instagram is young adults ages 19-29 – again, a very hard to reach demographic in many libraries. (Source:

How can we use Instagram in our libraries?

·  Post images of upcoming event flyers

·  Document events at your library in real time

·  Show off photos of your library

·  Post covers of favorite books, DVDs, or other materials

·  Since Instagram is so mobile friendly, take it outside the library! Post photos from local town events, museum visits, or anything else you think may interest your patrons.


Library Instagram Accounts:

Piscataway Public Library:

New York Public Library:

Lawrence Public Library:



Flickr has been around since 2005 and was built specifically for searching, sharing, and storing photos online. Owned by Yahoo, Flickr offers a terabyte in online storage space as part of their free account. Flickr currently has about 90 million users with more than 3 million photos uploaded daily. Why is Flickr great for libraries? Because a terabyte of free online storage space for your photos is a tremendous amount of space. And, unlike other visual social media websites, Flickr has the space and is designed for high-res photos. While it doesn’t have quite the ‘social’ capacity the other websites do, this is the place to share and store some of your best quality library photos.


How can we use Flickr in libraries?

·  Post photos of past events

·  Post photos of the library and town

·  Scan and post vintage photos of your town and library from your local history collection

·  If your library has a staff member or patron who is an aspiring photographer or hobbyist, ask to highlight their photos on your Flickr account


Library Flickr Accounts:

Library of Congress:

NJLA Member Services:

Boston Public Library:


Contact Information

Emily Weisenstein

Children's Services Supervisor

Madison Public Library

39 Keep Street

Madison, NJ 07940

973-377-0722 ext. 3

emily.weisenstein [at]