Bookstagram and Booktok for Libraries

Instagram and TikTok are trendy ways to reach a younger audience, especially teenagers.  Hashtags Bookstagram and Booktok are used interchangeably on both platforms, raising the popularity of books, new and old.  Librarians are aware of the necessity of monitoring these trends for our collections.  In the same sense, they are a tool to not only promote our collection, but programs. 

How do we do that as libraries? 

First, we need to understand exactly what a Bookstagram and Booktok are and how to put them together. 


A Bookstagram is “a book lover’s instagram account that features a collection of artistically composed photos of books,” Penguin Random House.  This definition and much of the following information applies to a BookTok account so as not to repeat I will add the differences when covering Booktok.

When creating a Bookstagram, it is important to consider your handle/name, making it memorable and catchy.  Libraries should include the institution name and fun version of their logo as well as how much time is able to be allotted to social media. This is where, depending on your library’s policies, where volunteers can be helpful. Much of your creativity will be in the actual content and hashtags of postings. 

Decor items are a fun way to showcase books, for example, you can use items giving clues as the genre of the book or books reviewing such as magnifying glass for mysteries or vintage doilies for historical fiction.  Not everyone has the budget to keep these on hand or have a professional looking back drop. Sometimes, we only have time for a quick review, but libraries have many fun nooks and crannies that can be used!  Imagination is key here.  Watching and studying other library accounts helps in gaining ideas.  

Do not be shy in including yourself in a Bookstagram, I have found Instagram posts get more views and likes when librarians are present.  Patrons love to see their local librarian having fun and they always want to know what we are reading.

Captions is where the meat of the content lives.  This gives voice to the visual of the photo.  What is the book about? Why does the librarian like it so much? Where in the collection can I find it? Make the caption fun by utilizing emojis and links to the catalog where the book is located.  A Bookstagram is essentially a quick reader’s advisory or LibGuide. If you have time, include a read-a-likes.  Younger readers tend to use Bookstagram and BookTok the most and they tend to be influenced by visuals and easy access to what they are looking for.


BookTok adds a more precise video element to sharing books.  Captions are used less because the video can be used to convey most of what is shared in a caption. Be careful, as captions are not as easy to read on TikTok.  Much fun can be had with a BookTok and teen volunteers may have fun creating the content about books they are reading and more. 

Creating a BookTok is simple. You don’t need a special camera, your phone will do the job. Editing can be done right on TikTok or downloading apps such as CapCut or Microsoft Clipchamp are helpful ways to edit videos.  I do not always have a video and find I need to create a video with still photos and have found Clipchamp helpful for this. I do this for many of the teen programs I hold, but want to be mindful of not sharing any faces.  

I have discovered that once I create a TikTok from my phone it automatically adds it to my gallery.  I can then share it on the library’s Instagram account which I have connected to Facebook and the video is now shared on all three platforms.  This ensures it is shared with all age groups. I find if a Teen does not see it, their parents will and share it with them.  I use every method possible to reach my Teen patrons.  

Music can aid in reaching more followers, especially those that are trendy.


Hashtags are the umph in raising viewership. The more hashtags added to a Bookstagram or Tiktok the greater the findability.  At the moment, it is not always easy to come up with all the hashtags you would like.  I tend to see what other libraries are using, my community, target audience, city, state, author’s name, book name, if using music, the name of the song and artist, genre, elements within the book, and whatever I can think of that will catch people’s attention. 

Bookstagram and Booktok are a fun way to share what is new or popular in your collection and can take some time, but it is worth all the effort because in many cases it is the only way to reach patrons, especially teen patrons who find Facebook too old and don’t always check their email.  

The most important takeaway is have fun!

-Crystal Macias and Jennifir Huston

Black History is American History – Classroom Connections

This month, as we honor and celebrate Black History, we also recognize that Black History is not a box to be checked during the month of February alone. Black History is American History, and these resources are critical to the conversation, this month and every month of the year.

YALSA’s 2021 Excellence in Nonfiction Celebration is tonight (click here to register), and a booktalk event featuring the full list of nominated titles will take place on February 24. On that list is the excellent Lifting as we Climb: Black Women’s Battle for the Ballot Box by Evette Dionne.

Lifting As We Climb by Evette Dionne

This Coretta Scott King honoree focuses on the vital and often overlooked role of Black Women in the Suffrage Movement and connects the dots from the abolition of slavery to women’s suffrage, on to the civil rights movement and today’s activism, where women were and continue to be necessary and significant leaders.

The Library of Congress Born in Slavery collection offers digitized narratives collected as part of the Federal Writers’ Project (FWP) in the New Deal-era Work Projects Administration (WPA). These oral histories and photographs preserve the first person accounts of formerly enslaved people.

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2021 YALSA Book Award Winners & Honors

Alex Award

  • Black Sun by Rebecca Roanhorse, published by Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781534437678).
  • The House in the Cerulean Sea by TJ Klune, published by Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books (ISBN 9781250217288).
  • The Impossible First: From Fire to Ice – Crossing Antarctica Alone by Colin O’Brady, published by Scribner, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982133115).
  • Kent State: Four Dead in Ohio by Derf Backderf, published by Abrams Comicarts (ISBN 9781419734847).
  • The Kids Are Gonna Ask by Gretchen Anthony, published by Park Row Books (ISBN 9780778308744).
  • The Only Good Indians by Stephen Graham Jones published by Saga Press, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982136451).
  • Plain Bad Heroines by emily m. danforth, published by William Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins (ISBN 9780062942852) .
  • Riot Baby by Tochi Onyebuchi, published by Tom Doherty Associates/Tor Books (ISBN 9781250214751).  
  • Solutions and Other Problems by Allie Brosh, published by Gallery Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster (ISBN 9781982156947).  
  • We Ride Upon Sticks by Quan Barry, published by Pantheon Books, a division of Penguin Random House (ISBN 9781524748098).

    In addition to the winning titles, the committee has also released the full vetted list of titles that were nominated for the Alex Award. View the list.

Edwards Award

Kekla Magoon
  • X: A Novel, co-written by Ilyasah Shabazz and published by Candlewick Press
  • How it Went Down, published by Henry Holt and Co. Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group;
  • The Rock and the River, published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing
  • Fire in the Streets, published by Aladdin, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing

Morris Award

If These Wings Could Fly by Kyrie McCauley, published by Katherine Tegen Books, an imprint of HarperCollins. 9780062885029.

Nonfiction Award

The Rise & Fall of Charles Lindbergh by Candace Fleming and published by Schwartz and Wade, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Penguin Random House. 9780525646549.

In addition to the finalists and award winner, YALSA also publishes a list of vetted nominations for the Nonfiction Award. View the list. If you’d like to learn more about the list of nominations, join us for a special booktalk with the Nonfiction Committee on February 24, 7pm EST. Register for the event for free.

Odyssey Award


Kent State written in verse by Deborah Wiles, powerfully narrated by Christopher Gebauer, Lauren Ezzo, Christina Delaine, Johnny Heller, Roger Wayne, Korey Jackson, and David de Vries and produced by Paul R. Gange for Scholastic Audio.

Honor Audiobooks

  • Clap When You Land written by Elizabeth Acevedo, narrated by Elizabeth Acevedo and Melania-Luisa Marte, and produced by Caitlin Garing for HarperAudio, a division of HarperCollins Publishers.
  • Fighting Words is written by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley, narrated by Bahni Turpin and produced by Karen Dziekonski for Listening Library, an imprint of Penguin Random House Audio.
  • Stamped: Racism, Antiracism, and You is written by Jason Reynolds and Ibram X. Kendi, narrated by Jason Reynolds with an introduction by Ibram X. Kendi, and produced by Robert Van Kolken for Hachette Audio.
  • When Stars Are Scattered written by Victoria Jamieson and Omar Mohamed and narrated by Faysal Ahmed, Barkhad Abdi and a full cast, is produced by Kelly Gildea and Julie Wilson for Listening Library, an imprint of Penguin Random House Audio.

Printz Award


Everything Sad Is Untrue (a true story) by Daniel Nayeri and published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido.

Honor Books

  • Apple (Skin to the Core) by Eric Gansworth and published by Arthur A. Levine, an imprint of Levine Querido.
  • Dragon Hoops Gene Luen Yang, color by Lark Pien and published by First Second Books, an imprint of Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group.
  • Every Body Looking by Candice Iloh and published by Dutton Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers, a division of Penguin Random House.
  • We Are Not Free by Traci Chee and published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Pura Belpré Award: Young Adult Author Award


Furia by Yamile Saied Méndez and published by Algonquin Young Readers, an imprint of Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill.

Honor Books

  • Never Look Back by Lilliam Rivera and published by Bloomsbury YA.
  • We Are Not from Here by Jenny Torres Sanchez and published by Philomel Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House.

Congrats again to all the winners and honors and thank you to all the book award committees for all the hard work, time, and effort they put into reading all the nominees and selecting the winners! View current and past list of winners of all of YALSA’s book awards (with annotations) on YALSA’s Book and Media Awards web page. View the full list of all the winners of the Youth Media Awards here.

YALSA names 2020 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults

The 2020 Amazing Audiobooks for Young Adults list has been announced.

The list consists of 35 titles; with 30 fiction and 5 nonfiction audiobooks, selected from 63 official nominations, which were posted and discussed in blog posts on The Hub.

The list is aimed towards young adults aged 12-18 and is drawn from the previous year of spoken-word releases. The committee listened to over 300 titles this year in their quest to choose a myriad of audiobooks that would appeal to all subsects of the teen audience.

In addition to the full list, the blogging team chose the following titles as its top ten:

  • Becoming by Michelle Obama, read byMichelle Obama. Random House Audio, 2018. 19 hours; 16 discs. 978-0-5256-3367-9.
  • Dig by A.S. King, read byA.S. King, Mike Chamberlain, Tonya Cornelisse and Kirby Heyborne. Listening Library, 2019. 10 hours, 22 minutes; 9 discs. 978-1-9848-3817-9.
  • The Fountain of Silence by Ruta Sepetys, read by Maite Jáuregui, with Richard Ferrone, Neil Hellegers, Joshua Kane, Liza Kaplan, and Oliver Wyman. HarperAudio, 2018. 12 hours, 30 minutes; 10 discs. 978-0-5931-0566-5.
  • Heroine by Mindy McGinnis, read byBrittany Pressley. HarperCollins Audio, 2019. 8 hours, 30 minutes; 7 discs. 978-0-0628-8681-1.
  • Hey Kiddo by Jarrett J. Krosoczka, read byJarrett J. Krosoczka, Jeanne Birdsall, Richard Ferrone, and Jenna Lamia. Scholastic Audio, 2019. 2 hours, 51 minutes; 3 discs. 978-1-3386-0454-2.
  • Internment by Samira Ahmed, read bySoneela Nankani. Hachette Audio, 2019. 11 hours; 11 discs. 978-1-5491-4876-7.
  • Let me Hear a Rhyme by Tiffany D. Jackson, read by Adenrele Ojo, Korey Jackson, Adam Lazarre-White, and Nile Bullock. HarperCollins Audio, 2019. 9 hours, 30 minutes; 8 discs. 978-0-0629-1433-0.
  • On the Come Up by Angie Thomas, read byBahni Turpin. HarperCollins Audio, 2019. 11 hours 45 minutes; 10 discs. 978-0-0628-4069-1.
  • Shout by Laurie Halse Anderson, read byLaurie Halse Anderson. Listening Library, 2019. 4 hours; 3 discs. 978-1-9848-8239-4.
  • With the Fire on High by Elizabeth Acevedo, read byElizabeth Acevedo. HarperAudio, 2019. 7 hours, 30 minutes; 6 discs. 978-0-0628-8679-8.

YALSA’s portfolio of book and media awards helps strengthen library services for and with teens by identifying quality, age appropriate resources for librarians and library workers to share with the teens in their communities. Learn more about YALSA’s other book and media lists here.

A huge thank you goes out to the members of the 2020 Amazing Audiobooks Blogging Team for all the long hours and great work they put into selecting the 2020 list. Thank you for all your time and effort!

Members of the blogging team are: Coordinator Samantha Neiman, Sun Prairie Public Library, Sun Prairie, Wisconsin; Coordinator Brittany Marie Garcia, Rancho Cucamonga Public Library, Rancho Cucamonga, California; Kit Ballenger, KitonLit, Chevy Chase, Maryland; Dawn Zimmerer Collins, Madison County Library System, Canton, Mississippi; Cyndi Hamann, Arlington Heights Memorial Library, Arlington Heights, Illinois; Danielle Jones, Multnomah County Library, Portland, Oregon; Christie Kimsey, Los Angeles Public Library, Pasadena, California; Teka McCabe, Briarcliff High School & Briarcliff Middle School, Manor, New York; Erin Phemester, Public Library of Youngstown & Mahoning County, Youngstown, Ohio; Dr. Wendy Stephens, Jacksonville State University, Jacksonville, Alabama; Sarah Ressler Wright, RB Hayes High School, Delaware, Ohio; Kiera Vargas, Tennessee State University: Language, Literature, Philosophy Department, Nashville, Tennessee.

What the Dang Heck Is a Webcomic??

Screenshot of Sarah Andersen’s website as viewed on my phone.

Webcomics aren’t typically given much attention by library professionals — possibly because they can’t be owned or lent; nevertheless, we should be familiar with them. After all, our goal should be to connect people with materials they love, not just materials the library owns. Additionally, if we want to be deft, resourceful readers’ advisers, we need to be familiar with all kinds of reading materials, especially the kinds of things our patrons are reading.

If you’re brand new to webcomics, this post will give you a foothold in their vast, wild world. If you’re familiar with webcomics, please leave your favorites in the comments as well as any resources you find helpful!

Continue reading What the Dang Heck Is a Webcomic??

NaNoWriMo Inspiration for Teens

With November halfway over, many aspiring writers are trying their best to complete NaNoWriMo (also known as National Novel Writing Month) where they are challenged to write a book by the end of the month.  Life is especially hectic for teens as they juggle school assignments, clubs, sports, etc. So if any teens are attempting to do NaNoWriMo, they need lots of inspiration as they forge ahead on their writing journey. Here’s a round up of some resources to motivate potential teen writers:


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Riverdale Reads

Oh Riverdale – I have a special place in my heart for you, but I think your teenaged residents could use some time away from town quarantines and drug induced hallucinations and really horrible parenting. Luckily, YALSA’s 2019 award winners and nominees have books to help your beleaguered high school students cope with all the drama. (Warning: Season 3 Spoilers)

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Rescue Me: a Media List for Teen Dog Lovers

  A couple of years ago, I decided to put my lifelong obsession with dogs to good use and became a volunteer at my local animal shelter. I swore up and down that I wouldn’t adopt a dog, for a variety of logical reasons, and I actually held out for about a year. Then, to NO ONE’S surprise but mine, I fell in love with, and adopted, my dog Pippa.

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What Would Anne and Maud Read?

I was incredibly excited when I first heard that Netflix and the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation were creating a new series based on L. M. Montgomery’s Anne of Green Gables. My Canadian friends and family were able to view Anne With an E before me and their reviews were mixed. Most had seen – and loved – the 1985 CBC TV series, which faithfully followed the book. It seemed that older friends and family, especially those who had read the books and/or seen the original TV series, disapproved of the “liberties” the new series took with the story line. Younger friends and family, who had less familiarity with the story, were intrigued at the way the new series explored darker themes

In addition to creating controversy, the new series, now renewed for a third season, has sparked a new interest in interest in the author and the world she created. Regardless of what you think of Anne With an E, these books are an exciting way to explore the world of Anne, and her creator, who liked to be called Maud (without an E).


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#WontBeErased: Transgender Awareness Week and Day of Remembrance

This November, Transgender Awareness Week (November 11-17) and Transgender Day of Remembrance (November 20) comes on the heels of our current administration’s ban on military service for transgender individuals, along with his latest efforts to remove legal protections afforded by federal civil rights law. Raising visibility of the issues facing transgender people is even more important now, as transgender kids are increasingly vulnerable to bullying, violence, self-harm, and suicide; and library staff and educators working with young people can and should be aware of how to support them.

For many of us, this means exploring our own biases and rethinking some of our ingrained ideas about sex and gender identity, which can be a difficult task. I’ve gathered some resources below–books, videos, websites, and even a webcomic–that can help adults working with youth become more knowledgeable and understanding, and therefore better able to offer support, resources, and empathy to our transgender patrons. For excellent fiction and nonfiction to offer to transgender, nonbinary, and questioning teens, follow these two links to past YALSA Hub articles. 

Continue reading #WontBeErased: Transgender Awareness Week and Day of Remembrance