TikTok at the Library: Insights and experiences of the College of Science Library

As a result of the pandemic, academic librarians have become more resourceful and creative in addressing the needs of their stakeholders. From verifying the availability of physical materials to providing access to electronic resources, creativity and patience are always at play. The promotion of library services and resources can be achieved by efficiently using graphic design tools and platforms to deliver the message. That being said, several academic libraries turned to social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram to disseminate necessary updates or news to their users. Apart from these media, librarians also explore uncommon platforms to augment their current library promotion and marketing strategies. An example of a unique platform that can be used in libraries is TikTok. This social media platform is used to make a variety of short-form videos from genres like dance, comedy, and education. You might wonder, how can librarians use TikTok for the benefit of their libraries? 

To tell us more about this endeavor, we invited Ms. Melanie Sangalang and Ms. Dianne Viray, library staff who made excellent use of TikTok for the College of Science Library. Like any other library service, we asked them what or who gave them the idea to use Tiktok as a marketing platform for the College of Science Library. “Kapag may zoom meeting ang buong CS Lib staff, madalas nababanggit sa meeting na we have to be aggressive and active in promoting our services. Sakto itong si Dianne, tinap ako para simulan namin na gamitin ang TikTok at gawan ang CS Lib ng TikTok account para sa marketing promotion. Yung mga naging guide namin for educational TikTok video eh sila Dr. Kilimanguru, etc. Engaging and informative yung videos nila kaya naging patok sa netizens, so naisip ni Dianne na bakit hindi rin gawin ng CS LIB. I think magandang way din ito para mapakita ‘yung “cool side” ng library habang nag-po-provide ng information sa ating mga library users,” Melanie said. 

Melanie provides information how to access and utilize the resources of the CS Library during this pandemic.

Looking into the future, we asked them what services or resources they wish to promote using this platform. According to Dianne, “As the premier science library, we also see ourselves producing content that will benefit the general public. Our TikTok account was created as an additional marketing platform to promote our new collection, new services and share our existing library resources. There’s also a plan to utilize this app to educate our students about what we do, our advocacies, share our experience with customers, and hopefully, correct some misconceptions about our profession.” 

With regard to their colleagues, students, or faculty, what was the response of the community upon using this strategy? Both Melanie and Dianne were pleased that “despite being on the platform for just a few weeks, the responses and engagements have been encouraging, a hundred likes and views in such a short period is something that we didn’t see coming. We were grateful for the support of the CS LIB staff, most especially Ma’am Tonet, in this endeavor. We see the joy in their faces with each video we upload, and that gives us the motivation to do well. As of the moment, dahil bago pa yung TikTok account ng CS LIB, wala pa kaming feedback from faculty members and students, but we are looking forward to receiving feedback from them soon.”

For librarians who wish to use TikTok as a library promotion tool, Melanie and Dianne are generous enough to share their suggestions. As for Melanie, “Patience is a virtue,  lalo na sa mga first-time users ng TikTok. Challenging s’ya pero sobrang satisfying kapag may na-discover kang feature nya na angkop don sa content n’yo. Honestly, we are still in the process of discovering yung iba’t-ibang features nya. Magandang bagay din na dalawa kami ni Dianne sa pag-explore ng Tiktok kasi may matatanungan. As for the content, kailangan matiyaga ka din manood ng ibang videos na pwedeng magamit for marketing promotion kasi kami ni Dianne we want our content to be informative and relatable. So kailangan updated din sa mga trends on social media. Mas maganda rin kung may mga suggestions from your colleagues.” 

Aside from providing relevant updates, Dianne shares tips in conducting an effective search using Google.

She furthers “We don’t have much advice to share yet, but based on what we have experienced so far, it is crucial to immerse yourself in the app first before everything else. Familiarizing and making use of it makes it easier for you to think of ideas and content you’d like to create. We’ve also learned that content incorporates humor, funny and relatable experiences to gain more engagement. So if you wish to use TikTok as part of your library’s social media platform, we recommend you fully embrace the culture of the app and its vibe. Don’t be afraid to get a little silly at times for the video. After all, it’s the entire point of being on the platform to spread information to the masses in a more entertaining and funniest way possible. So let loose. And let yourself have fun with every content you’re about to do.”

As librarians and information professionals, it is necessary to continue exploring different media and platforms that can contribute to the enhancement of library services and resources. If you want to know more about this endeavor by the College of Science Library in TikTok, you may visit their TikTok account through this link.

UP College of Science Library official account 📚 https://www.tiktok.com/@upcslibrary