Tuesday, 20 March 2018

Waterloo Library staff recommend books based on your tattoos

A photo of this tattoo was sent to the University of Waterloo library 
as part of a project to recommend books based on tattoos. - Courtesy of the University of Waterloo
This article from the local newspaper in Waterloo, Ontario was recently brought to my attention.  The paper is called The Record.  I know that many folks who share my fascination with tattoo culture would enjoy this so:
WATERLOO — Could your literary tastes literally be tattooed on your body?
The latest initiative undertaken by the University of Waterloo library suggests they could be.
For two months, a number of library staff members are volunteering to interpret tattoos belonging to members of the community by offering up a book recommendation from the Waterloo Reads collection. The collection consists of more than 600 books.
"We call it the Tattoo Tuesday task force and there are 10 individuals, nine of whom take turns conducting the readers advisory based off the tattoos," said Michael Myers, the 24-year-old library co-op student who came up with the idea. He was inspired by the Kitchener Public Library's recent campaign to collect stories behind tattoos.
Every Tuesday, images of the tattoos, along with the book recommendations, are posted to the UW library's Instagram account. At first, organizers didn't know what to expect from their social media audience.
"UW's pretty serious and we weren't sure what kind of response we'd get from the campus community, but it's been really positive," said Mary Lynne Bartlett, a library associate who oversees e-learning and user experience.
Since the library launched the program three weeks ago, it has posted about 15 book suggestions.
"We've been getting a really good response," said Myers, adding that the tattoo submissions just keep coming in. "We've had a couple of staff members as well as several from the student body. We even had some people from Wilfrid Laurier (University) submit tattoos."
To date, Myers' favourite submission is a delicate ink image of lavender.
"The tattoo itself is very beautiful," he said. "It looks like someone just pressed in a (piece of) lavender into someone's skin."
But he was even more impressed by the book recommendation — a graphic novel by Craig Thompson titled "Blankets." The social media post describes it as a coming of age story about love and loss.
"I actually haven't read that graphic novel, so I picked it up," he said.
And that's the goal of the initiative — to get more people reading.
All of the recommended books are available at the university's Dana Porter and Davis Centre libraries.
lbooth@therecord.com, Twitter: @BoothRecord

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