Go ahead, quote me on this: Pinterest can actually make you smarter.
Not only can the image-based social sharing site let you discover DIY tips and the ultimate arroz rojo recipe but Pinterest can help us become virtual librarians as well.
But keep reading—this won’t be your mama’s library.
The core of Pinterest is boards which function as virtual scrapbooks. Pinterest account holders can create boards around themes and either reuse images—known as pins—that someone else has uploaded, or upload new pins from their own images or from sites such as amazon.com.
There aren’t yet many boards or pinners devoted to Latino literature. Which means there’s a big gap that your virtual library can fill! Check these out for inspiration:
La Casa Azul Bookstore: This East Harlem bookstore has a variety of boards devoted to reading Latino literature and meeting the authors. Photos of books are usually accompanied by a blue papel picado streamer embossed with the name of the store. Love it! Here’s the link: http://pinterest.com/lacasaazulbooks/
The Somers Library: The public library of Somers, NY, has a wide selection of thematic boards, including one devoted to The Pura Belpré Award which is awarded annually to a Latino/Latina writer and illustrator whose work best portrays, affirms, and celebrates the Latino cultural experience for children and youth. Here’s the link: http://pinterest.com/somerslibrary/pura-belpre-award/
Carmen Amato (okay, me): This international mystery author has The Latino Library and The Mexico Library boards which jointly contain more than 100 book pins, each of which link back to amazon.com descriptions and purchasing information. Other boards illustrate her own mystery novels with celebrity dreamcasts, playlists and related images. Here’s the link: http://pinterest.com/carmenconnects/
Ready, Set, Pin
The magic of creating a library on Pinterest is that you can combine book images and information in amazing ways that real libraries rarely do. You can make all types of book boards and add surprising things to them.
Once you have your Pinterest account set up, decide on a theme and create a new board with a short, snappy title. You board can be about an individual book or many books in a specific genre. For example:
- Latino Lit from the 1970’s
- fiction books based on history
- Cuban-American authors
- Book club reads
Or your board can just be about books you recommend. Or want to read. Or just love the cover!
Once you have your theme, add images:
- Find the book page on amazon.com and use the site’s PinIt button to pin the book image and description
- Do a search on Pinterest, using keywords such as the book title to find book-related images
- Use Google search to find more images of the book. This is handy if the book has had several different covers but amazon only shows the latest. If any site doesn’t have a PinIt button, add one to your browser by searching for the PinIt button on the Pinterest site, then use it to pin to your board.
Repeat Step 1 until you have as many boards as you want!
Give that board some book bling!
- Who would play the lead characters if the book became a movie? Pin some celeb photos and say which character he/she would be and why.
- Where was the book located? Add some pictures of where the action takes place.
- What did the characters eat? Add some recipes.
- Was there a playlist in the background of this book in your imagination? Add a couple of music videos. YouTube makes it easy with a PinIt button on every video.
- If the books are non-fiction, find related pictures by searching both the Pinterest site as well as using Google. Maybe there is a history website with good pictures you can use.
- What goes with books? Images of reading nooks, bookmarks, author photos? Use your imagination!
Remember to acknowledge the primary source of whatever image you pin. If you use a PinIt button, the source link will stay attached to the pin when it is on your board. If you upload an original image from your own computer, you can add a link manually.
As Pulitzer Prize-winning authorJunot Diaz tweeted during this week’s #L4LL Twitter party, “The only way to support reading is to push books on youth. All of us have to be librarians and literary curators.”
A Pinterest library can do just that by combining books with familiar pop culture elements like music videos and getting those boards visible on social media networks.
So once your boards rock, invite friends to take a look. Tweet your boards and link to them on Facebook.
Also, post a link in the comments thread below to share and help build this community!
This is the third of my three guest posts for Latinas4LatinoLiterature and I hope you have enjoyed reading them as much as I’ve enjoyed writing them. Thanks to Monica and the gang at Latinas4LatinoLit.org for this opportunity.
Carmen Amato is the author of political thriller THE HIDDEN LIGHT OF MEXICO CITY and the Emilia Cruz mystery series set in Acapulco. Both draw on her experiences living in Mexico and Central America where she discovered the best coffee on earth. For more check out: