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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.
What else was I supposed to call this post? To give you all a little background, the first video was among a series of videos produced by Old Spice in response to requests asked on their Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages. Lucky for libraries, wawoodworth Tweeted:
ATTN LIBRARIAN TWEEPS: Need help getting @oldspice guy to say a few words regarding libraries. RT plz. Thanks.
And the Old Spice guy answered:
And then then Harold B. Lee Library Multimedia Unit at Brigham Young University (who can really produce an effing video – thanks for that, guys) took the concept and ran with it. Ahh Librarians, so resourceful.
My latest obsession, when I’m not volunteering with my library’s millage campaign, is sorting through the Library of Congress’ Flickr Photostream. Rarely do I look through a Flickr account and feel consistently excited or impacted by the images. In another life, I was an aspiring documentary filmmaker; maybe that’s why these photos speak to me so much.
Maybe it’s the nostalgia for my grandparents’ generation that the set 1930s-40s in Color evokes. I could go on all day about these photos, but your time would be better spent perusing these images yourself.
A final note: If you love old-timey music in addition to vintage photographs, I recommend listening to Carolina Cotton Radio on Last.fm while clicking through the photos.
All images used in this post are in the public domain and are available at the Library of Congress’ Flickr Photostream.
This is the most “just for fun” post I’ve ever written for Book Mobilize (sorry).My fiance made me a mix the other day called “Cruisin’ to the Library” that I thought I’d share with you. Find the track listing and a d’load link below!
Hot Chip – She Wolf
Karlo Aliev – Lukovitsko Horo
Jay-Z – Empire State of Mind (feat. Alicia Keys)
Girls – End of the World
Pantha Du Prince – Stick To My Side (edit)
Free Energy – Dream City
Carolina Cotton – Three Miles South of Cash (In Arkansas)
Black Van – Yearning
Sharon Jones & The Dap-Kings – Money
Drake – Over
Owen Pallett – Lewis Takes Off His Shirt
The Boogaloo Crew – Calling All Dancers
Joanna Newsom – Esme
Amanaz – Khala My Friend
Jeff Mangum – Sign The Dotted Line
Four Tet – Love Cry
Click here to download Cruisin’ to the Library
In honor of my new tattoo, I thought it might be fun to show off some of the best library tattoos I’ve found on the internet.This post is actually somewhat overdue 😉 as my tattoo is nearly healed by now. My public library tattoo is my third tattoo and is located on my upper right arm.
When searching for examples library/literary tattoos online, keep in mind that some of the results will be a little NSFW. I won’t include those here. As a note to anyone’s body art I’m including in this post, let me know if my citation of your photo is in any way unsatisfactory. I’m still searching for the best way to cite photos in a blog.
Flickr user: audramelissa
below from blog.8bitlibrary.com
This post is dedicated to my love of the internet.
Tattoo artist: BT at Splash of Color
My third favorite television show growing up in the 1990s was Wishbone. For those of you unaware of this spectacular gem of a show, please consult its Wikipedia page and your local PBS affiliate for more information and to watch an episode or two. I promise that if you love reading, this show will at least make you smile.
At any rate, the episode entitled One Thousand and One Tails was on WKAR in East Lansing, MI when I went to my gym this afternoon. Lucky for me, the episode was beginning right as I got on to the elliptical machine (as if anyone cares what my workout routine entales). Here’s a synopsis of the episode, from KQED:
David has an adventure with bandits on the information superhighway while Wishbone tries to save Emily from the power of greed. Meanwhile, Wishbone, as Ali Baba, has an adventure with forty thieves, and Scheherazade saves her life through the power of stories in “The Thousand and One Arabian Nights.”
I HAD hoped to embed a series of videos produced by the Wishbone team in this post, but alas, finding anything but the show intro and a variety of bad (surprise, surprise) content tagged with “wishbone” on YouTube was impossible. Instead of a bunch of cute videos about visiting your local library and how fun going to the library with one’s family is, I’ve got this video of a barking Jack Russell.
And since this post is “just for fun,” here are some adorable pictures of my two dogs, one of which is part Jack Russell Terrier. Soccer, the dog best known for portraying the most literary pooch of all time, was a Jack Russell.
Happy belated Xmas, librarians. I had a man once ask me why on earth I’d want to be an old librarian with a bun and cranky glasses. Most librarians I know, though there are exceptions, are very much the opposite of the stereotype.
At any rate, it’s Christmas time. If you can spare the 30 seconds to watch the first video below, you’ll laugh as hard as I did at the shock and horror with which George Baily reacts to discovering his wife is a librarian.
And to end it on a more positive note: