Getting your first 90 day layoff notice bites. There are so many things that run through your head, and sitting at the reference desk you certainly have enough time to think about them. It was during one of these self pitying “what do I do now” reference desk hours that I created the image. It was my way of saying we won’t be shushed, you can’t shut us up, we won’t stop protesting until all of our branches stay open. Then the whole thing went a little nuts, and all of a sudden I’d taught myself to screenprint, broken my mom’s dryer, andcovered the trees in my mom’s yard with tshirts. The We Will Not Be Shushed attitude and image hit a nerve with us at Queens Library, and we fought like crazy. We had 400 people show up at city hall, we stayed up all night reading in protest and we got most of our funding restored.

Now we’re facing it all again. The proposed cuts this year will bring us up to a 40% cut since 2009. Libraries in New York just can’t function with that kind of cut. But that’s ok, because our librarians are a scrappy bunch of punk ass book jockeys. We’re planning more and bigger advocacy events than last year, and we’ll get our damn funding back.

The process of getting said tattoo was kind of weird and very librariany. The artist who did it was into comics and had a passion for bad post-apocalyptic fiction, so I found myself doing readers advisory while in the chair. “You might like S.M. Stirling, ouch, Dies the Fire is really good in a sort of awful way, ouch.” A librarian’s job is never over.

Clearly, when I say we should be in a permanent state of advocacy I really mean it. I was lucky enough to create an image last year that people could be inspired by and rally around, and at least part of the reason I got the tattoo was to try to inspire myself again. To remind myself to fight for the people in our communities who can’t. To remember why we do all this. And because being a librarian has become part of who I am, and it’s going to stay that way.

Check us out at If you’re in New York on June 11th and 12th, check out the read-in. Sign all three petitions!
I’ll appreciate it, and I know that my coworkers and patrons will as well.



Thanks for the post Lauren!  FYI, Lauren originally accompanied the original Project Brand Yourself a Librarian group to Jinx Proof Tattoos in Washington, DC during ALA 2010 and was there for the initial branding!      -Justin