The TikTok Account You Should Be Following is Probably a Library

Only cool people follow libraries on TikTok.

Screenshot from the Milwaukee Public Library Tik Tok

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Let’s face it. It’s bleak out there. Book banning is a whole political stance. It’s scorching hot just about everywhere. And Donald Trump is vowing to run for president—from prison. But one wholesome TikTok trend is reminding me of the light. 

Against one of the most contentious times for public libraries in recent memory, supporters are creating TikToks that spotlight the importance of libraries as cultural institutions. There’s the celebratory first library card dance. Insider peeks at how shelves stay replenished and organized. Check out two of my favorite accounts courtesy of the Milwaukee Public Library and Cincinnati Public Library:

@milwaukeepubliclibrary

Lose yourself at the public library. #Portal #LibraryCard #PublicLibrary #BookHaul #Photoshoot #LibraryTok #NickiMinaj #fyp

♬ Did It On’em – Nicki Minaj

@cincylibrary

No books were harmed in the making of this film. #CincyLibrary #CincinnatiLibrary #Library #Fyp #LibraryTiktok @belitskaydi

♬ original sound – Cincy Library

You wouldn’t know it from the joy in these TikToks. But as my colleague Kiera Butler has reported, conservative-leaning groups like Moms for Liberty have been furiously working to ban books with messages they find offensive, including LGBTQ and racial justice themes, from schools across the country. The result has been a slew of laws restricting content in public libraries, sometimes with the threat of criminal charges. This past weekend, a federal judge in Arkansas temporarily blocked a new law that would have charged librarians who have loaned books considered “harmful to minors” with a felony punishable by up to six years in prison or a $10,000 fine. Meanwhile, widespread state and city budget cuts have left public libraries struggling to fund their services. It’s been especially devastating in Texas, one of the country’s leaders in book bans, where one school district is planning to eliminate 28 libraries and convert some of them into detention centers.

But libraries are fighting back online—and delighting demoralized public library fans like me. You may have recently seen Barack Obama in the Kankakee Public Library feed. Other accounts, including Tennessee’s Munford Library, are using humor to call out the GOP’s push for book bans. Other videos inform the public of the lesser-known services that libraries provide, such as audiobooks and movie rentals

So, if you haven’t already, I hope that these TikToks encourage you to give your local library some love. Because they sure as hell need it these days. 

@milwaukeepubliclibrary

Try one or try them all #AEHolidayCard #LetsGo #IntuitTouchdownDance #LibraryTok #LibraryToks #LibraryTikTok #LibrariesForAll #LibrariesRock #BeautifulLibraries #BlackFriday #BlackFridayDeals #fypシ #fyp

♬ LETS GO – LevitatingOnTheMoonWithDulaPee

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