Get Inked at the Library!

Denver Public Library recognized National Tattoo Day, Tuesday, July 17, with #Book4Tat Facebook advisory! We gave hundreds of people  reading, listening and watching recommendations based on their tattoos and backstories. Our advisors laughed and cried, and were truly inspired by everyone who participated.

Getting inked continues to be a growing trend as technology and acceptance increases. Age, gender, and religion are less common barriers than they used to be. The reasons for going under the needle range from intensely personal symbols to recording a significant event.

So you say you love the library but do you REALLY love the library? Enough to get a book-themed tattoo? 

Whether you're ink free or have tattoos to spare, you're invited to get a new library or book-themed tattoo at a special fundraiser for the Denver Public Library Friends Foundation. On Sunday, Aug. 5, 1-5 p.m., at the Rodolfo "Corky" Gonzales Branch Library, you can choose from a set of designs created exclusively by Certified Tattoo Studio. Tattoos range from $50-$200 and each one supports the Friends Foundation. Not ready for a real tattoo? A donation to the Friends can get you your own temporary tattoo that shows off your support for the library. First come, first served - get all the details here!

If you’re feeling indecisive or just haven’t found the right design, the library has resources which might inspire the perfect tattoo for you. Check out the “flash” art of Tattoo Johnny,  a dictionary of popular tattoo design, or even a documentary about Norman 'Sailor Jerry' Collins, considered one of the greatest American tattoo artists of all time.

Inspired by the website of the same name, Tattoo Johnny: 3,000 Tattoo Designs, features 16 categories of designs, ranging from fairies to sea life to skulls and horror. You will be amazed at the beauty and intricacy, as well as flat-out humor, of this art form.

1000 Tattoos is a combination of tattoo history with historical and contemporary photographs of tattoos. You’ll find everything from Laurel and Hardy on a Dutch man’s stomach to a pair of flirtatious eyes with arched eyebrows on a woman’s buttocks.

The analytical types out there will want to pick up The Tattoo Dictionary: an A-Z Guide to the Secret Language of Tattoos.  The origin and meaning of many of the most popular tattoo designs (with illustrations) are included such as Ganesha the deity, reminder of wrongful attachments and ability to remove obstacles; Om, symbol of the universe and everything that has been and will ever be; and the anchor, signifying stability, faith and remaining grounded.

Perhaps my favorite is Knives & Ink: Chefs and the Stories Behind Their Tattoos because not only do you get to see some phenomenal inkwork, there are recipes too! For example, you get the story on why Nick Venezia, sous chef at The Sinclair, has a Sharpie tattoo, and you get his recipe for jalapeno cast-iron corn bread.

Tattoo aficionados will no doubt be familiar with “Sailor Jerry,” an American serviceman turned tattoo artist, who developed a now well-known set of designs which has greatly influenced modern tattoo art. The DVD documentary Hori Smoku: Sailor Jerry, The Life and Times of American Tattoomaster Norman K. Collins is not only about Sailor Jerry, but is also the story of tattooing in America, and how an underground network of artists and fans took inspiration from the East to form a vibrant American folk art form.

Written by Dodie on July 25, 2018


Marcy Dice on July 14, 2018


As someone with several tattoos (and most of those are quotes from books, movies, and songs), this is awesome! It's so cool that you guys do things like this!

Becky Currie on July 25, 2018


Can we make an appointment? Or is it first come, first served?

Kristina on August 2, 2018


Can you pay for the tattoo with a card or should I bring cash?


Cash only, please! Thanks for checking, we can't wait to see what tattoo you're going to pick!

JJ on August 6, 2018


I missed yesterday's event. Will there be another?


We don't have another one planned just yet, but keep watching our home page, FB page and Twitter feed - this was so popular!


Thank you! As an English teacher and tattoo lover, I can not wait!!!