Posted by: bluesyemre | July 20, 2022

Telling the Library Story on TikTok

Photo courtesy of Unsplash by @amandavickcreative

Recently, I have found myself scrolling through endless amounts of TikTok videos when I need to be catching up on my own personal summer reading list. This could be due to the rising heat or the bustle of summer reading, but I can’t manage to relax with a good book. Thankfully, it’s utterly enjoyable to consume all things book with increasing #BookToks – which seem to be driving up book sales for the publishing industry, and holds lists in libraries. Can anyone else not keep Colleen Hoover books on the shelf now? It’s also been a thrill to see more library accounts popping up recently. Libraries are using the short form videos on social media and joining other institutions like museums, while getting more widespread recognition for their efforts. There was even a session during ALA, which was shared on the ALSC blog.

While most of the content on TikTok seems to be geared towards older audiences, there is great potential for youth services departments to also use the tool. Here are a few quick and simple ideas for this upcoming summer to get staff thinking about how to possibly incorporate TikTok into the mix.  

Collaborate

The Kankakee Public Library in Illinois found notoriety with their parody of a Wes Anderson style film in the library. The library has been active on other social media platforms, but TikTok seems to really have taken off amongst staff and their followers. Their next project is going to focus on the Anderson film Moonrise Kingdom, and will feature the children’s department as well as local kids.  

Because there may be various staff members who gravitate towards the social media platform, it offers opportunities for departments to work collaboratively on creative projects. This inevitably will increase team-building opportunities within the library, which can also boost morale.  

Engagement  

What better way to connect with the community than telling the library story in a brief, entertaining, and impactful way. Whether it is promoting the library summer reading program (Barnes and Nobles is partnering with BookTok on a summer challenge), showing a behind the scenes look at how the library functions, or performing readers’ advisory, the possibilities are endless. I Love Libraries shares some of their favorite #LibraryTikTok accounts, one of which features @teachinatardis who shuts down myths about reading in a manner that will make you LOL.

Programming

TikTok can also serve as an inspirational tool for programming ideas. The beauty of TikTok is that similar to other platforms, you don’t just have to be creating content to benefit. Simply viewing and being mindful of trends can spark some ideas that may turn into programs. Darien Library in Connecticut is offering a DIY Acrylic Pour program which is advertised as something that’s way too messy to try at home. Palm Springs Public Library in California offered an Oreo Mug Cake program that was also based on a TikTok recipe that only requires two ingredients: Oreos and milk. If anything, TikTok provides another resource for librarians to pull from when planning programming that appeals to youth. Who doesn’t like consuming Oreos and trying out messy art at the library!?

While this is a short blog post to get you thinking about the benefits of creating a personal or organizational TikTok account, the possibilities are endless. You can start off by searching popular hashtags like #BookTok or #librariesoftiktok just to get you started.

This post addresses the following ALSC Core Competencies: I. Commitment to Client Group, III. Programming Skills, and V. Outreach and Advocacy.

Claire Moore Salgado is a member of the ALSC Children and Technology Committee and works at a small beach library in the LA area.


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