Finished your book? Cue the screaming and crying.
From skits on the angst of choosing which book to take home to tips on how to better use the public library system, the Brentwood Public Library’s TikTok account has you covered.
Run by librarian and Brentwood native Tevin Vuong, 26, the account has gained traction since Vuong started generating platform-specific content in 2020, with several viral videos — including one with 1.1 million views.
Vuong is part of a growing movement of librarians producing content on TikTok in an effort to reach younger patrons, especially teens, and advertise library resources. Searching terms like #librarytok or #librariesoftiktok on the platform will result in videos on topics that range from relatable content for book lovers to how to access library resources.
Library TikTok content is related to BookTok, a term referring to a TikTok subcommunity that focuses on books. The community has gained a reputation in recent years for its influence on the publishing industry, with viral videos causing spikes of interest in specific books.
“There’s quite a few [Long Island libraries] that are using [TikTok] or at least exploring it and seeing how it can benefit their library,” said Noah Reed, marketing coordinator at Suffolk County Cooperative Library System.
Reed said Comsewogue Public Library, for example, along with other local libraries, creates displays centered around books that are trending on the TikTok app.
“Libraries that are in tune with what’s trending or going on, especially on BookTok and everything like that, a lot of times they’ll do displays with books that may have come out 20 years ago but they’re trending and there’s interest again. They’ll kind of put those front and center,” Reed said.
TikTok is a “tool” that librarians can use to show how they are serving their community, Reed said. It can also market programs and resources besides books that libraries offer to the public.
“[TikTok is] kind of bringing libraries where those people that they’re trying to reach are,” Reed said. “It’s a good avenue to reach that potential patron that might not know … that [libraries offer] more than just books.”
One recent TikTok on the Brentwood channel, for instance, highlights a seed borrowing program, fax and copy machines, and private study rooms available at the library.
TikTok is also a platform that’s heavily trafficked by teens and young adults. Nearly 70% of teenagers in the United States use TikTok, according to a 2022 survey from Pew Research. The Brentwood Public Library’s TikTok account has around 4,600 followers.
“I feel like other libraries can also relate to this; teens are really hard to reach. But through TikTok, we’ve managed to reach them,” Vuong said.
Vuong said he’s seen teens get more involved at the library, and some even help create TikTok videos. “It has definitely created a sense of community,” he said.
On Tuesday afternoon, several students from Brentwood High School, which is just half a mile away from the library, sat at tables studying or working on school projects.
Keysha Jean-Baptiste, 17, a senior, said she comes to the library around three times per week. She hasn’t seen the library’s videos come up on her TikTok feed, she said.
Angel Cruz, 16, a junior, said he hasn’t seen the library’s TikTok account either, but he thinks it’s a good way to reach teens.
“I think it’s a good thing. I feel like not many people use the resources available to them,” Cruz said of the library’s TikTok account.
Michael Buono, head of reference and publicity at Brentwood library, said the TikTok channel brings an “uncountable value” to the library.
“Like yeah, you can say something got like a million views, right? But if the TikTok that Tevin makes brings teens into the building and it’s for even a single afternoon … then there’s just untold value there,” he said.