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Librarian Named One of Time’s Next Generation Leaders

Mychal Threets

Time has unveiled its Next Generation Leaders list for 2024, and a librarian is amongst the honorees.

Mychal Threets, a librarian from Fairfield, California, who was also a recipient of a 2024 I Love My Librarian Award, has been everywhere this year, so it’s no surprise to see him being honored by Time. The librarian has taken the U.S. by storm with his TikToks that celebrate reading and spreading “library joy.” As Time writes:

“The videos that have contributed most to carving out [Threets’] special corner of the internet are the ones in which he shares memorable encounters with ‘library kids’ and ‘library grownups.’ In his most viral TikTok, which racked up about 22 million views and was shared by celebrities like Jennifer Garner, he tells a story about a kid at the library reading a book in Spanish to two other kids who wanted to read it but didn’t speak the language. In one of his PSAs, he explains how to turn on a special font for dyslexic users in the popular free e-book app Libby. In an especially moving video, he talks about an unhoused adult and child who regularly come to the library to watch YouTube videos and laugh together, offering up a breach of quiet library code that he sees as a win—two people who see the library as a safe space to enjoy time together. But then, as he says of his videos’ viral reach, he jokes, ‘For a quiet library voice person, I have a very loud voice on the internet.’”

Threets stepped down from his full-time library position at Solano County Library this year to deal with some mental-health challenges—something that he has been openly about publicly—but he remains in the spotlight. Threets was named PBS’s resident librarian in February, and he’s been making videos for social media with iconic characters. Many of his fans online bill him as the spiritual heir to “Reading Rainbow” host LeVar Burton.

One of Threet’s chief messages has been to challenge the stereotypical notions that librarians are “strict schoolmarms in cardigans telling people to be quiet.” As he puts it, “I love the children’s library section where there is noise—that means kids are having fun.”

Congratulations, Mychal!

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