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Award-winning librarian leaves Solano County Library

Times-Herald - 2/26/2024

Feb. 26—Mychal Threets, a Solano County librarian who went viral on Tik-Tok earlier this year, has resigned from his post at the Fairfield site to focus on his mental health. After amassing 745,000 followers and 15 million likes on the app, Threets says he experienced harrowing cyberbullying on that platform and the social media site X (formerly Twitter).

Known online for sharing his unique brand of positivity, mental health support and "library joy," Threets was named a winner of the American Library Association's "I Love My Librarian" award for 2023 — one of just 10 winners nationwide from a pool of over 1,400 librarians.

"Dear Solano County Library, I just want to say thank you," Threets said in a Tik-Tok video announcing his resignation. "Thank you for raising me as a homeschool library kid. This is the place where I've always felt safe, where I've always felt like I belong, where I've always felt like I've had friends."

Despite an overwhelming outpouring of love and support for his hopeful and encouraging content, Threets has repeatedly faced online bullying and harassment for the videos he makes. He has repeatedly spoken candidly about how the backlash has affected his mental health while remaining kind and positive about those who have hurt him.

"I hope those people have a much better day tomorrow," he said of the bullying on Tik-Tok. "I hope they experience kindness. I hope they experience joy. I hope they remember that they still belong at the library. I hope better days are ahead of them."

Threets, whose last day is March 1, says his first job working in a library was in the Solano County Library, and it gave him a chance to follow his dream.

"I went from library kid to being in charge of the library where I grew up in," Threets said. "It has been the honor of my life."

Threets apologized to those who would be disappointed in his absence but assured them he would still be around and visiting the library. He said he has made some of his closest friends at the Solano County Library.

"To the library kids, to the library grown-ups, I am so very sorry," he said.

Threets' content often focuses on "library kids" and their interactions with him and library resources. While Solano County is considered to be one of the more diverse counties in the nation, Threets says children of color are shocked that there is someone who looks like them and their family working at the library with tattoos and big hair.

Threets says the drive to help people feel like they belong comes from his own experience as a lifelong library visitor.

"I am the truest form of a library kid," he said, "I first visited the library when I was 3."

Threets hopes to fight for literacy across the nation and continue to support libraries worldwide as he moves forward. He plans to go before Congress to speak about the importance of library funding and support. Threets said he hopes people in Solano County understand that the library is for everyone, and that mentally ill and unsheltered people should feel safe and welcome there. Often, the library can connect resources to those in need.

"Funding libraries is funding the community, funding our togetherness, our unity," he said.

The librarian said he would be checking in with those close to him and using this time to focus on his mental health while continuing to search for library joy.

"Your mental health matters and it always will," the librarian wrote in his farewell post. "Be kind, my friends. This librarian is proud of you for existing. I see you, I see you shining. You're extraordinary."

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