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This librarian’s ‘Library Joy’ is contagious, in viral videos and real life

This librarian’s ‘Library Joy’ is contagious, in viral videos and real life
Posted at 5:30 AM, Feb 06, 2024

What pops into your mind when you think of a librarian? Perhaps it’s the stereotypical older person with a stern face who constantly shushes everyone to keep order and silence in the library.

Mychal Threets, supervising librarian at the Solano County Library in California, single-handedly turns that reputation upside down. He’s young, unabashedly excited and speaking loud and proud in his mission to spread “library joy” to the world.

His viral TikTok videos have introduced a new generation to the wonders of the library, literacy and inclusivity. Back in 2020 and 2021, Threets made viral videos about adults wanting their own Scholastic Book Fair, and he’s been on a roll ever since.

@mychal3ts #duet with @ldorzhikk #books #videogames & more FREE with your library card! #librariansoftiktok #librarytiktok #booktok #learnontiktok #learnwithme ♬ оригинальный звук – Dorzhik

Now, in addition to working full-time at the Solano County Library, Threets invests time on TikTok and Instagram (where he currently has over 650,000 followers on each account) to share everything libraries have to offer the community. He reminds viewers their local libraries have much more than books available to check out for free, and this is all part of his library joy message.

@mychal3ts You can get everything with a library card! #booktok #librariansoftiktok #librarytiktok #bookworm #videogames #manga #books ♬ пон – 🤡

So, what does Threets mean by “library joy?” In a conversation with HuffPost, the 33-year-old librarian said the concept is simple.

“What that means is just what I try to and what I hope all library workers embody,” he said. “It is [fostering that sense of] belonging,” Threets told HuffPost. “I keep on saying that the library is for everybody: library kids, library grown-ups, mentally ill, unhoused. I love telling people that they don’t have to leave their anxiety, depression or PTSD outside the library. There’s no sign that says you can’t bring your anxiety in.”

In a Sept. 2023 video, Threets shared an encounter he had with an unhoused person in the library who told him that the positive interactions he experienced with library staff made him feel welcome. Threets described this as “the power of the library.”

“A couple of days before this, they wanted to unalive themselves, they didn’t think anybody cared,” Threets shared in his TikTok video. “They came back to the library just for somewhere to sit and they said that I always say hi to them, [and that] my library people also always say hi to them.”

@mychal3ts The library is where you belong, where you’ll ALWAYS belong 💚✨ #booktok #librarytiktok #storytime ♬ original sound – mychal

Threets has shared on his social media platform that he struggles with anxiety issues like many of the people he encounters in his library and around his community.

He posts mental health checks on TikTok and Instagram, including his not-so-good days. Threets believes transparency unites people and helps them understand we are not alone in our struggles.

To encourage others to learn more about mental health, Threets helped to install mental health kiosks in his library and in other library branches to connect patrons with mental health services in the area.

MORE: 6 easy (and totally legal) ways to read books online for free

In addition to his social media recognition, Threets grabbed the attention of several prestigious organizations. In the past year, his colleagues nominated him for an American Library Association Award, and he was named one of 10 winners of the I Love My Librarian Award, which recognizes the accomplishments of exceptional librarians who, “have gone above and beyond in their commitment to inclusivity, literacy and digital access.”

For Threets, it’s not about the accolades and popularity. It’s about the people who serve at the library and what the library has to offer everyone.

“Mychal doesn’t just talk about himself,” Jamie Nakamura, a former librarian at Solano County told The New York Times. “He talks about his peers and how great they are and how much they want you in the library.”

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