TikTok is my favorite resource for professional development. That might seem unlikely, if you associate the platform with teens dancing in silly ways to trending songs. But TikTok can be a fantastic resource for storytime songs, reading recommendations, and learning more about childhood development – provided you use it thoughtfully. Here are some of my favorite things I’ve learned from TikTok since I started curating an account around all things library.
I have found some new (or new to me) storytime songs on TikTok that I love. Two of my favorite songs are on the theme of body positivity, something that I have struggled to find good songs for in other, more traditional professional development resources. They are both by Mother Moon, who I stumbled across on TikTok, but she’s also on Youtube and music sharing platforms. “I Love My Body” is a sweet, body-positive song that is easy to bring into storytime.
I also love her “Good Belly” song, which you can add hand motions to for maximum storytime fun. It has lyrics I love: Big belly, little belly, round belly, flat / Some have a lot of muscle, some have a lot of fat / Some wiggle and jiggle and some do not / And I love whatever kind of belly that you got.
Children’s Librarian Matt shared his “Grump Song” on TikTok, a fantastic song for getting grumpy wiggles out and helping kids with their emotional regulation. It has such fun lyrics: I’ve gotta grump gotta grump in my head now / I’ve gotta grump / gotta wiggle it out / wiggle wiggle wiggle wiggle (with emphatic goofy wiggling). Librarian Matt has the grumps go to arms, hands, legs, and so on, until all the grumps are wiggled out. (Print is not the best mechanism for sharing the melody, but you get the idea!)
There’s been a lot of back and forth, professionally, about whether BookTok (videos made to share and promoted books on TikTok) is a benefit to the reading community. BookTok is what brought Colleen Hoover rocketing onto bestseller lists, but like a lot of other social media resources, it can prioritize white writers if you aren’t using it carefully. However, TikTok has also introduced me to smaller, independent presses who publish diverse children’s books, either through the publisher’s TikTok, or through booktokers who focus on diversity. I’ve had great children’s books recommended to me on neurodiversity and disabilities, as well as books that represent more religions and cultures beyond what you might find through traditional publishers. Do you have to search carefully to find these things? Yes. But for me, it is still a useful way to find titles beyond the Big 5 publishers.
Learning from Professionals
All kinds of early childhood professionals use TikTok to educate. I follow speech language pathologists, occupational therapists, and physical therapists to learn more about their fields and listen to their best practices. As with any resource, you do have to double check to make sure any expert you’re listening to has strong credentials in their field. But by finding reliable experts, I’ve learned more about how children develop speech, which lets me model child-directed speech in storytime. I’ve leaned from early educators how children develop the skills of emotional regulation, which in turn has made me better at resolving conflict with kids and families in the library. From physical therapists, I’ve learned how to incorporate big body movements in storytime that help kids gain core strength and balance. None of these areas were covered in my MLIS, but they are all important in my daily work.
What is your favorite unusual resource for professional development? And is your library on TikTok, because I would love to follow you!
Today’s blogger is Chelsey Roos. Chelsey has been a member of ALSC’s Advocacy and Legislation committee, and is a Children’s Librarian for Santa Clara County Library.
This blog relates to ALSC Core Competencies III. Programming Skills, IV. Collection Knowledge and Management, and VII. Professionalism and Professional Development
Would love some recs of accounts people find helpful!