November 21, 2017

The Advocate's Toolbox

A Growing ALA Conference Tradition: Commemorative Tattoos

The 2016 Printz committee showing off their tattoos

The 2016 Printz committee showing off their tattoos.

For librarians serving on an American Library Association (ALA) book award committee, the experience can lead to a lifelong bond with fellow committee members. The reunion dinners during the annual ALA conferences are a popular gathering for reliving the memories. Some participants, though, have opted for a permanent way to recollect the good times.

In 2015, members of the Caldecott committee decided to commemorate their journey with book-themed tattoos. Winning illustrator Dan Santat joined in with his own fresh ink. Victoria Stapleton, executive director, school and library marketing, at Little, Brown Books for Young Readers also jumped in, adding a tattoo to commemorate the award created by Angela Reynolds at the Black & Blue tattoo studio in San Francisco.

This year the award tattoo trend rolled on as Stapleton added another work of art for this year’s Caldecott-winning book, Finding Winnie (Little, Brown) by Lindsay Mattick and illustrated by Sophie Blackall, created by New Rose Tattoo in Portland. She was soon joined by Newbery committee member Eric Barbus, a librarian at the North Beach branch of the San Francisco Public Library. He walked out with one of Christian Robinson’s images from Last Stop on Market Street (Putnam) on his upper arm.

However, it was the Printz committee who took the prize for highest participation. The annual Michael L. Printz Award honors the best book written for teens, based entirely on its literary merit. This year’s winning book was Bone Gap (HarperCollins) by Laura Ruby, who started the ball rolling by rewarding herself with a tattoo. Many of the subsequent Bone Gap tattoos incorporate the bee from the cover.

Here are some of the 2016 ink enthusiasts.

Derek Ivie, youth services coordinator, Suffolk Cooperative Library System in Bellport, NY.

Derek Ivie, youth services coordinator, Suffolk Cooperative Library System in Bellport, NY.

April Witteveen, community and teen Services Librarian with the Deschutes Public Library in central Oregon. The bee is for Bone Gap; the oak leaves and braids for Out of Darkness; the infinity and spiral symbols represent Ghosts of Heaven.

April Witteveen, community and teen services librarian with the Deschutes Public Library in Central Oregon. The bee is for Bone Gap; the oak leaves and braids for Ashley Hope Pérez’s Out of Darkness; the infinity and spiral symbols represent Marcus Sedgwick’s The Ghosts of Heaven.

Rob Bittner of the department of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Rob Bittner of the department of gender, sexuality, and women’s studies at Simon Fraser University in British Columbia.

Melissa T. Smith, administrative assistant for the Printz committee.

Melissa T. Smith, administrative assistant for the Printz committee.

Ann Pechacek, lead librarian at Worthington Libraries in Worthington, OH.

Ann Pechacek, lead librarian at Worthington (OH) Libraries.

L . Paige Battle of Grant High School in Portland, OR. "One of the prints on William Wasden Jr.'s page featured a bee. The inspiration for it came from the Haida tribe's respect for the warrior insect of the bumblebee and its sense of family and community.The minute I saw the image and read the artist's statement, I knew I had found the design that was right for me."

L . Paige Battle of Grant High School in Portland, OR. “I came across the Alcheringa Gallery in Victoria, BC. One of the prints on William Wasden Jr.’s page featured a bee. The inspiration for it came from the Haida tribe’s respect for the warrior insect of the bumblebee and its sense of family and community.The minute I saw the image and read the artist’s statement, I knew I had found the design that was right for me.”

 

Lalitha Nataraj, literacy services librarian, Escondido (CA) Public Library.

Lalitha Nataraj, literacy services librarian, Escondido (CA) Public Library.

Eric Barbus of the North Beach branch of the San Francisco Public Library

Eric Barbus of the North Beach branch of the San Francisco Public Library

Laura Ruby. 

Laura Ruby.

 

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Rocco Staino About Rocco Staino

Rocco Staino @RoccoA is the retired director of the Keefe Library of the North Salem School District in New York. He is now a contributing editor for School Library Journal and also writes for the Huffington Post.

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Comments

  1. These are so great! (Tho fwiw, naming the artist who did the work is good tattoo etiquette. Maybe you can ask the librarians and add the names of the tattooists?)

  2. April Witteveen says:

    @marjorie Mine’s from Chris “Calli” Callister at Iron Elephant Tattoo in Bend, OR :)

  3. Ann Pechacek says:

    @marjorie Mine is from the amazing Kat Marie Moya at Spiritus Tattoo in Columbus, OH http://www.muscadomestica.co
    I gave her the three themes I wanted represented from all three books and she ran with it!

  4. Lalitha Nataraj says:

    @marjorie My tattoo was done by Sean Arnold at Spotlight Tattoo (Los Angeles, Calif.).

  5. Eric Barbus says:

    @marjorie Mine (Last Stop on Market Street) was done here in San Francisco by Jen Lee, at Ed Hardy’s Tattoo City.
    http://www.tattoocitysf.com/jen-lees-gallery/

  6. Angela Reynolds says:

    Happy to be part of this “new tradition”, I just want to point out that I do not work at Black & Blue Tattoo in San Francisco… Victoria Stapleton & I both got our tattoos there, done by the marvelous Kristy Q. http://www.blackandbluetattoo.com/

  7. Oh those bees are all so great! I’m so proud to have pointed Eric in your direction, Rocco – as soon as I saw that tattoo I knew you needed a picture of it!