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.
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] a good avenue to reach that potential patron that might not know … that [libraries offer] more than just books,” Reed said.
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.
Elijah Midy, 15, a sophomore at Brentwood High School, said he comes to the library every day. He said he heard about the TikTok account through the library, and some of Vuong's videos showed up on his feed, also known as a "For You Page."
"Sometimes they ask patrons here for ideas ... And I feel like it's a good way to get people's ideas out there and put on social media," Midy said. The channel is "a great way to ... put themselves out there" because Brentwood High School is close to the library; "people just go here to read books and have fun."
Michael Buono, head of reference and publicity at the Brentwood library, said the TikTok channel brings an “uncountable value.”
“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.
Library's TikTok program
- The app has gained traction since librarian Tevin 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.
- TikTok is a “tool” that librarians can use to show how they are serving their community, said Noah Reed, marketing coordinator at Suffolk County Cooperative Library System.