tattoo-librarianThey do say that a tattoo represents your soul on the outside. One group of people you would not normally expect to wish to portray their inner selves to the outside world is the quintessential reserved librarian. How wrong you would be!!

A group of women representing the Texas Library Association have done just that and published the results in a new 40 page calendar called “The Tattooed Ladies of TLA.” It’s all for a very good cause, one that they feel very passionately about. The Texas Library Disaster Fund helps libraries along the Gulf Coast recover from natural disasters such as hurricane Katrina.
Gretchen Hoffman, a 42 year old who set the pace as Miss August 2010 by posing on a rowing boat with a purple boa strategically positioned to highlight the starfish tattoo on her upper back said: “It was just a fun thing to do… I like the idea that the calendars are stereotype-busters. You don’t usually see [librarians] as tattooed and sexy. We’re not the little old ladies who walk around with buns.”

Miss June 2010, Melody Kelly, is 62 years old and the associate dean of libraries at the University of North Texas as well as a former president of TLA. “I’m somewhat amazed at the response we’ve had,” she said. Her tattoo represents the universal symbol for goddess on her ankle. Apparently they have had enquiries from all over the world, topping at 60 calls in a single day. “I am just so thrilled — it’s phenomenal,” she said. “There’s a need for disaster funds to buy materials and help with shelving in small towns that don’t have the resources.”

The idea was first thought up in 2007, just after the “Men of Texas Libraries” calendar so successfully and quickly raised over $9,000 in donations. It was Kelly who suggested the theme after noticing the tattoos on some of her colleagues, suggesting they capitalize on their inked assets.

“It was one of those ideas that just floated around for a while until someone decided to finally work on it,” said Hoffmann, who served as president of TLA when the men’s calendar was released. “Now it’s more than a buzz. It’s an explosion.”