Librarians meet young readers where they are: TikTok
“It is our job to select, acquire, describe, make accessible and disseminate the preserved knowledge,” Drabinski added. “That’s the whole project. So as technology changes the way things flow, we change with it.
Librarians can also use TikTok to spread reliable information on a platform full of manipulated content. “It’s a space that requires critical knowledge of information,” said Jessie Loyer, an academic librarian in Calgary, Alta., who posts on topics such as digital sovereignty and repatriation on TikTok under the pseudonym. @IndigenousLibrarian.
“Librarians have always been involved in helping people understand what is real, what is relevant,” Loyer added. Thus, TikTok, she said, is “a necessary space and a useful tool”.
Not everyone agrees with the idea of librarians posting on TikTok. Some library managers and boards find certain TikTok accounts to be unprofessional, Vickers said. And some librarians are ambivalent about encouraging young people to use the platform. Elizabeth Miller, 22, a youth services librarian at the Rehoboth Beach Public Library in Rehoboth Beach, Del., said that while TikTok has the potential to help people make friends and explore hobbies time, the app is not always a healthy environment for teenagers.
But others, including librarians at the Kankakee Public Library, find TikTok also allows them to engage with the community in person. The library often collaborates with local personalities, including the mayor. “He’s always happy to do it,” said Greer, who helps make the videos. The library plans to create TikToks with cheerleaders and the local high school drama club next year.
“We may not make them readers this year or next year,” said colleague Mary Bass, 30, assistant supervisor of youth services and head of Kankakee’s library. “But they’ll know we’re here growing up.”