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Obama Reads and Rocks in Library TikTok Videos

President Obama interviews student

Barack Obama has been professing his love for libraries—and his opposition to the recent increase in book bans—in a major way this month.

The former President of the United States penned an open letter July 17 extending his and former First Lady Michelle Obama’s support to America’s librarians in an era of rising book challenges and growing personal attacks against those who resist them.

"Whether you just started working at a school or public library, or you’ve been there your entire career, Michelle and I want to thank you for your unwavering commitment to the freedom to read," he wrote. "All of us owe you a debt of gratitude for making sure readers across the country have access to a wide range of books, and all the ideas they contain."

Days later, Obama made waves on social media with guest appearances in TikTok videos for public libraries across the country.

In a video for Kankakee (Ill.) Public Library (KPL), the former president appears along with KPL librarians as they highlight books that have faced calls for censorship on the shelves of schools and libraries.

For Harris County (Texas) Public Library (HCPL), Obama joined HCPL pitchman Curbside Larry to promote the library’s Library for All Initiative, which strives to make reading more accessible to all Houstonians, including those who need special accommodations or who speak a language other than English.

For Woodland (Calif.) Public Library’s TikTok, Obama appears with library staffers—and the library’s cat, Henrietta—as they tout the myriad of things available to guests at the library.

And in a video for Prince George’s County Memorial Library System in Maryland, Obama rocks out to Elton John’s “I’m Still Standing,” while reading “The Color Purple” and proclaiming that the library, “Rocks banned books. Do you?”

Thanks for your support of libraries and the freedom to read, President Obama!

Want to take action against book bans? Join the Unite Against Book Bans movement and visit our Fight Censorship page to learn what you can do to defend the freedom to read in your community.

Photo: Chuck Kennedy

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