How Palatine High Media Center Employees Use TikTok to Promote Reading

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Jump over a desk. Falling down with a dozen hardcover books in my arms. Suspend a moving book cart.

“There is nothing we won’t try,” says a line in the song that two members of the media center staff at Palatine High School used in their latest TikTok video – and that pretty much sums it up.

Meredith Quick and Sarina Flores are the creators of the media center’s TikTok account, @mediacenterphs, which they launched at the start of the COVID-19 pandemic. The tagline for the account is “Just a bunch of librarians out to spread the love of reading.”


Palatine High School Library Assistant Meredith Quick, left, and Media Center Assistant Sarina Flores have created over 100 short videos for their TikTok channel. They started using the video-sharing social media network to contact students during the pandemic.
– Brian Hill | Staff photographer

“Me and Sarina are very outgoing people, and we miss the kids,” Quick said. “It was like, ‘How do we reach the children? And the kids are on their iPhone or iPad. We wanted to contact them. “

Quick is a library assistant and Flores is a media library assistant. The two posted 108 lightweight videos through the social networking app to promote books and reading, as well as things like Black History Month, Women’s History Month, and the “16 Best Books”. »Chosen by librarians and secondary school staff.

They get an average of 200 to 300 views, with some getting over 1,000. The most popular has around 5,500 views.

“I did it in five minutes and I don’t understand why (it was so popular),” Quick said, speculating that it could be due to a particularly popular song she used in the video.



Palatine High School <a class=media center assistant Sarina Flores reviews the material for a TikTok video. She and library assistant Meredith Quick have created over 100 videos for TikTok, with most getting 200-300 views.” width=”600″ style=”max-width:100%;width:100%;” class=”lazyImg”/>

Palatine High School media center assistant Sarina Flores reviews the material for a TikTok video. She and library assistant Meredith Quick have created over 100 videos for TikTok, with most getting 200-300 views.
– Brian Hill | Staff photographer

Flores came up with the idea of ​​launching a TikTok channel for the media center. She asked her colleagues to record clips at home, which she used to create the first video in April 2020.

“My kids use TikTok, and I use it too,” she said. “Editing is the hardest part.”

Over the summer, she and Quick – who also learned to edit – brainstormed ideas for more videos. Their effort began in earnest in August, when staff members returned to the building.

The two women use the media center Twitter and Instagram accounts to share their TikToks and tag book authors. This led to things like the book Zoom from “Fireborne” author Rosaria Munda for the media center and social media interactions with authors Fred Aceves and April Henry, among others.

Quick, who suffers from dyslexia, is passionate about encouraging students struggling with the same illness. Two of her TikTok videos focus on this, she said. “When kids tell me they don’t like to read, I just tell them, ‘You read the wrong book.'”



Sarina Flores, media center assistant at Palatine <a class=High School, left, and library assistant Meredith Quick recorded a clip from a TikTok video last week.” width=”600″ style=”max-width:100%;width:100%;” class=”lazyImg”/>

Sarina Flores, media center assistant at Palatine High School, left, and library assistant Meredith Quick recorded a clip from a TikTok video last week.
– Brian Hill | Staff photographer

Plus, “all reading matters,” she said, including audiobooks and forms like graphic novels and verses.

The media center has around 17,000 books, as well as puzzles, games, and a reading and study area. Students also have access to hundreds of e-books. “We get a lot of traffic here,” Flores said.

But nothing has been the same during the pandemic, which is why TikTok videos have been a great way to stay in touch with students, they said.

Flores and Quick do a lot of “research” watching other TikTok videos and tag their videos with “BookTok”, a subset for book lovers. What they don’t are things like adding popular, but unrelated, tags to get more viewers, they said.

“Our intention is not to go viral. Our intention is to connect with our students,” Quick said. “We are there for them, we miss them and we will be there for them when this is all over.”



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