This is a repost of a feature I wrote for the wonderful 8bitlibrary.com!
My Sweet Library Tattoo
A couple of months ago, my best friend was visiting me in Lansing, and I decided to bite the bullet and get the library tattoo I’d been wanting. We’d been roommates during our mutual time at Michigan State University and had gotten in to our fair share of mischief back then, not the least of which was getting our first body modifications. That’s when I fell in love with tattoos. My first was a memorial tattoo for a recently-passed family member. My second tattoo reads, “I simply can’t do anything which I don’t feel deeply,” and is written in my own handwriting. (The guy who did the tattoo called it my “don’t sell out” tattoo, and it’s served me well in that regard.)
When I get tattoos, it is always an incredibly premeditated, personal decision. In looking at the comments on the Project Brand Yourself a Librarian page, I noticed people saying they’d wear a temporary library tattoo, they can’t afford another tattoo (a valid consideration), or they’re on the fence about getting a tat. I guess I was on the fence at first about getting my library tattoo as well, but it is something I absolutely don’t regret.
So many people stop me on the street now to ask, “Is that real?” of my tattoo. By and large, everyone talks about how cool it is, and it always starts a conversation about libraries (bonus!). Everything from questions about my library‘s overdue fines, to our millage, to a great conversation about what the library means for our community. One day, I was walking to a dinner meeting, and these two guys stopped me on the street. I thought they were messing with me at first and I was all set to ignore them. Instead they said, “Hey, is that a library thing?”
“Yeah – I work at the library.”
Their response? “That’s what’s up! Peace.” And with a nod and a smile, I was off to my meeting.
Ha! I love telling people this tattoo-related story because, especially for those who are “on the fence” about branding themselves a librarian, the BEST thing about library tattoos is the cred you suddenly find yourself armed with. If you’re prepared to permanently brand yourself a librarian, a lot of people have respect for that, and in my community, people understand that working at a public library can be quite the experience. The tattoo lets people know that you’re serious about what you do. Permanently serious.
Thanks, Justin, for inviting me to share my story. I ❤ being a librarian. A lot.