(Pt. 3) TikTok for Librarians: Setup & Security


Hello everyone!  This is the third post in a planned series of posts about TikTok! I anticipate there will be about 3-4 posts in this series, and they should each be debuted over the next 2 weeks. The posts will cover a range of topics relating to how and why (i think) Librarians can use TikTok for their library program.

Find me on TikTok @gvhslibrary

Read the first post in this series: (Pt. 1) TikTok & How Librarians Can Use It
Read the second post in this series: (Pt. 2) TikTok & Is It Safe For Librarians?

Some of my favorite tik toks!

Before we get started on this post’s topic, let’s start with a few of my favorite tik tok videos!

  • This TikTok is an example of how you can use TikTok videos as a fun way to do book recommendations and booktalks
  • This TikTok is an example of you how you can use TikTok videos to create short research tips & tricks videos (tik tok videos all must be under 1 minute long)
  • This TikTok is an example of how you can use TikTok to create video “how to” tutorials to demo for students how to access or use various library resources.

Okay let’s get started with getting started and choosing your security features!

Create your profile

If you are creating an official social media account for your school or library, I suggest you create the account using your official school or library email address.  It is always best not to cross personal social media accounts with professional, so don’t use a personal email address to set up a professional account, and vice-versa.

**And, of course, make sure you are ALWAYS following any and all social media policies set up by your district or employer.

Choose your handle (your account name)

When choosing your TikTok account handle, keep it simple and easily recognizable.  And, if at all possible, keep it the same across all social media platforms. 

Side note: Even if you are not certain you will actually use a new social media platform when it becomes popular, I highly suggest you create an account as soon as possible so that you can claim your handle. 

Choose your Privacy & Security Settings

Decide for each video if you want it to be posted publicly or privately.

Under TikTok’s “Privacy and Safety” settings, they actually offer quite a good variety of options you might choose for your account, depending on your needs and preferences. Check out this list to see what they offer & my notes on each option:

Private or Public Account:

  • Private Account: Choose “private” account if you only want people you approve to be able to follow you and view your videos.
    • Private is especially a good option if you are creating a personal (not official school or library) account, because it will prevent your students (or anyone) from stumbling across your videos if they are of a personal nature.
    • If you want to switch your account to private just click “…” then “privacy and safety.”
    • tiktokblog1
  • Public Account: Public is a good option if you are using the account in an official capacity, as a way of doing library advocacy, program advertisement, community building, etc.
    • Public Account means that your videos will be pushed out to the feeds of other TikTok users, even if you are not friends with them, unless you specifically label the post as private before you click “post.”  Even when you have a public account, you still always have the ability to make any individual video “private,” so that only you can see it!

Personal or Pro Account

  • Personal Account
    • When you create an account on TikTok it is default set to a “personal” account.  You can switch it, for free, to a “pro account” at any time.
    • Pro accounts let you access analytics on your content.
    • You need to enter a phone number or email address in order to switch to Pro.  I suggest using your official school email, the one you use to create the account.  I would never suggest adding a phone number to any social media platform.
    • I recommend switching your account to Pro if you are running a public account, because the analytics are awesome. See below for more on Analytics feature.
    • See how to switch your account on this Medium article.

Analytics with Pro Account

If you switch your account to Pro, you’ll have access to analytics for your videos and account. These analytics are very helpful to providing you with data that will inform your content creation efforts. The data will also help you with your advocacy reports!

Choose your Safety Features

TikTok offers quite a few different safety preferences and options for you to choose for your account. You can find them by clicking “…” and then “privacy and safety.”

  • Allow Videos to be Downloaded (by other people)
    • You can choose “on” or “off.”
    • Choose “on” if you are okay with people being able to download your TikTok videos.
    • Choose “off” if you are not okay with that.
    • I have this option turned off for my account.
  • Who can send you direct messages
    • You can choose “everyone, “friends,” or “no one.”
    • Choose “everyone” if you are a okay with your inbox being filled up by trolls and catfishers.  Seriously I do not recommend anyone chose “everyone” for this option.
    • Choose “friends” if you are okay with messages being sent by your TikTok friends. People only count as friends if you follow them AND they follow you.
    • Choose “no one” if you prefer that no one can send you direct messages.
    • I have “no one” selected for my account.
  • Who can duet your videos
    • A duet is where people can create a video that incorporates your video in a “side by side” panel format.
    • You can choose “everyone,” “friends,” or “no one.”
    • I have “friends” selected for my account, because I only follow a few other educator accounts and am okay with those I do follow creating a duet with my videos.
    • This option can be set for your account but you can also change it for ech individual video. So if you have “no one” selected for account, but you have one video you do want to okay duets for, you can always indicate that on the individual video.
  • Who can react to your videos
    • A reaction is where your video will show up in the person’s video as a small box so they can react to it.
    • You can choose from “everyone,” “friends,” or “no one.”
    • I have “friends” chosen for my account for who I allow to react to my videos.
  • Who can view your liked videos
    • This setting is what you alter if you would prefer that people not know which videos you have “liked” on tiktok.
    • You can choose “everyone, ” or “only me.”
    • Liking videos is a great way of engaging with the platform, and it helps tell the algorithm which types of videos you’d like to see more of. But I don’t ever want anyone to be able to say that I am in any way officially endorsing a video just because I “liked” it, so I keep this setting as “only me” so no one else can see which videos I’ve “liked.”
  • Who can comment on your videos
    • You can select “everyone,” “friends,” or “no one.”
    • I have “everyone” selected here, but you could just as easily turn the commenting off altogether if you are more comfortable that way!
  • Comment Filters 
    • TikTok also has comment filters which I highly recommend you use. It has the following two options:
      • Filter spam and offensive comments
        • This option will automatically filter out words that TikTok deems to be offensive or spam.  It does a really good job, but people do come up with slang words to use to insult you which the filter won’t always know to grab.
      • Filter keywords
        • You can also enter any keywords you want into the filter, so that any comments with those words will be filtered out automatically.
        • I use the keyword filter a lot, because trolls commonly comment rude things.
        • Its important that you know this is very likely to happen to you if you have a public account that allows comments. If this will damage your mental health, I suggest you just turn off commenting, or learn to use the keyword filter function.

Tip for the TikTok-wary

If you’re not quite ready to bring your library onto TikTok in an official capacity, you can still reap the benefits of the TikTok video creator!  You can always create videos to use on your other platforms, without actually posting them publicly on TikTok itself. .  You can post them as private so only you can see them. Then you can download the video to your device so you can upload it anywhere you want.  If you’d rather not maintain a tiktok channel, you don’t have to!  Just create and edit the videos, and post them elsewhere. Newsletters, websites, instagram, twitter, seesaw, canva, etc.

What to do first?

Now that you’ve got your account set up, you’re probably wondering what you should do next!  TikTok is a strange social media platform, and it can be difficult to explain or understand at first.


That’s why the best thing you can do to start out is to be a lurker! Click the “home” button and start scrolling through your “for you” page so you can start to get a feel for what kinds of content other creators are putting out there. This is the best way to start to gain an understanding of exactly what TikTok is and can be. It is also the best way to start getting inspiration.

Start following & engaging in content

Once you have your bearings a bit it is time to start following some accounts that create content you are interested in. You can also start “liking” or commenting on videos you are interested in or inspired by.  Engaging with content by following, liking, and commenting is how you tell the algorithm what kind of content you are interested in. The more you engage, the more your “for you” feed will start to show you more of the types of videos and accounts you are interested in.

Suggested Accounts for Librarians to follow for inspiration:

  • Book related content
    • Follow other libraries, authors, publishers, and “booktokers” to see lots of content related to books.
    • Popular hashtags to search are: #booktok #bookclub #bookrecommendations
    • Accounts like: @tamarareads @penguinteen @epic_reads
  • Library related content
    • Follow other library accounts like: @tokstarlibrarians, @booknerdmom, @southcoastallibrary, @24hourlibrary, @akbusybee, @kdm_guybrarian, @teachinatardis, @dz_library, @mrspopeslibrary, @chsbookmasters & @unicornlibrarian
  • Education related content
    • Follow other school librarians or teahcers and educators!
    • Follow accounts like: @schoolhousetok, @mrshoesclass, @jenkjenkteach @gerrybrooksprin @mr_clidence @myteacherface @the.credible.teacher
  • Just for fun
    • Here are a few of my favorite, just for fun, TikTok accounts
      • @buster_and_brothers, @therock, @hamiltonmusical, @washingtonpost

When you are ready, start creating content!

Once you feel ready and you have ideas for your first videos, its time to start creating and posting!

Join me in the next blog post, where I’ll go into suggestions of types of videos you might make. I’ll also be posting some specific “how to” tutorials showing you how to use some of the most popular video editing features, such as lip syncing, transitions, effects, etc.


  1. Hey Kelsey! This series has been super helpful for me. I have a quick question- I saw that business accounts are no longer allowed to use a lot of music, have you found that the benefits of a business account outweigh the cons of losing access to these songs (and therefore having to be more creative with how you stay on trend and build engagement)?



  2. I’ve been following you on TikTok and I’ve decided to make a library account (finally)! Thanks for all your awesome videos. I really like the ones about the Dewey Decimal System. I blatantly copied your introductory video you shared on this blog (hope you don’t mind!). Thanks again.


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