Making the Most of #Booktok Videos

My high school library has seen an increase in circulation this year. This is partly due to collaborative relationships I’ve built with teachers implementing sustained silent reading. However, I’m certain that the rise in circ stats can be, at least partially, attributed to #Booktok. If you’re unfamiliar with #Booktok, it is a community of users on the social media platform TikTok, that create videos reviewing and recommending books. The #Booktok community has had such an impact that publishers and booksellers are taking notice. Read more about the popularity of #Booktok in this article from NBC News.

I have had more students than ever before come in looking for specific books, and they almost always heard about the books on TikTok. A plethora of YA books have risen to the top of the most recommended on #Booktok lists including titles from Adam Silvera, Karen McManus, Marie Lu, and Holly Black. Early on in the school year, I came across an Instagram post from Kesley Bogan @gvhslibrary on Instagram about a #Booktok display she created in her library.

I decided to try my own version using a graphic that was shared with me by our local Barnes & Noble Business Development Manager. This is now a permanent display that faces into the hallway of my school. It has been refilled several times already and has brought new students into the library.

I am lucky enough to work in a district that has a fairly large eBook collection shared among all of our schools. Unfortunately, eBooks don’t circulate much in our school community. I decided to make an interactive book display featuring eBooks that are popular on #Booktok.


I used Google Slides to create this image and in the version I shared with students, clicking on the book covers takes you directly to that eBook on MackinVIA. This display just went live yesterday and I am eager to see if it inspires more eBook circulation.

You may be asking how you can find out which books are trending on #Booktok. The good news is that it’s easy to find out, even without having a TikTok account yourself. I rely heavily on Barnes and Noble’s #Booktok hub. I’ve noticed that many other independent booksellers have created similar lists. A simple Google of “popular on Booktok” will get you thousands of results. If you want to dive into the #Booktok community yourself, this article from The Guardian features some of the most popular teen Booktok users.

I am grateful for the #Booktok community and so excited that it is inspiring new readers to visit my library! Have you heard about #Booktok from your students this year?



Author: Brandi Hartsell

Brandi Hartsell is the school librarian at Halls High School in Knoxville, TN. She was awarded Teacher of the Year at HHS in 2021. Brandi was also recognized alongside colleagues as recipients of the Tennessee Association of School Librarians (TASL) Teacher Collaboration Award in 2019 and 2021. She has served (and continues to serve) in many leadership roles within TASL. Brandi has presented professional development sessions for TASL, Halls High School, and Knox County Schools. Brandi loves sharing ideas and brainstorming…also cats…and true crime. Follow her on Instagram @hhslibrarytn.

Categories: Blog Topics, Collection Development, Technology

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2 replies

  1. Great article–I’m now inspired to try this in my high school library. Even though I’m active in the #bookstagram community on Instagram, I’ve been resistant to #booktok videos. I think I need to approach them from my students’ perspectives. Anything that is getting teens reading has to be a good thing!

  2. I love this idea! I’m a new teacher-librarian in Canada, near Vancouver, and I’m definitely going to try creating a #booktok display in my school. Students haven’t mentioned BookTok to me, but when I looked through a list of popular TikTok books, I’m definitely seeing some of our more popular titles. What a great way to engage teens in their reading. Thanks for sharing your ideas and creativity!

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