UNT women become calendar girls to raise money for disaster relief

Monday, August 10, 2009

DENTON (UNT), Texas -- When money was needed to replenish the Texas Library Association's Disaster Relief Fund, Melody Kelly, associate dean of the University of North Texas Libraries, remembered the TLA's "Men of Texas Libraries" calendar. The 18-month calendar, featuring male members of the TLA in beefcake photos, raised more than $9,000 for the fund, which helps libraries recover from natural disasters such as fires, floods or hurricanes.

"All of the funds had been depleted because of Hurricanes Rita and Katrina, so we needed another fundraiser," said Kelly, who served as TLA president from April 2008 to April 2009.

In 2007, after getting her first tattoo, Kelly noticed that many women attending the TLA's annual leadership assembly also had tattoos. She suggested they show off their tattoos for a new calendar that would overturn the stereotype of the frumpy female librarian.

The result is "The Tattooed Ladies of TLA" calendar, which begins in January 2010 and goes through June 2011. Many of the models are connected to UNT in some way -- as current students or alumni of the Department of Library and Information Sciences, or as current faculty members.

The calendar can be purchased for $20 at the Texas Library Association website.

"It was such fun identifying women for the calendar," said Kelly, who received her bachelor's and two master's degrees from UNT and will retire from the university this month after 38 years of service. "We're not your grandmother's librarians, checking out books and shushing people. The library profession has changed, not only in distribution and management of information, but in the atmosphere we create in libraries for users. Libraries are now social places for people to interact and exchange ideas."

As Ms. June 2010, Kelly shows off her ankle tattoo -- a new moon, full moon and waning moon that is a universal symbol of the Triple Goodness deity and stages of womanhood. She's photographed sitting in her backyard chair and strumming a ukulele. Kelly rewrote the lyrics of Groucho Marx's signature song "Lydia, the Tattooed Lady" into "Marion, the Tattooed Librarian," with stanzas scattered throughout the pages of the calendar.

Dr. Shawne Miksa, UNT associate professor of library and information sciences, is Ms. November 2010. Her two lower back tattoos -- Chinese characters meaning "desire" and "wisdom" -- appear on the border of her calendar page on either side of her portrait, which was taken on her back porch.

Miksa said she got both tattoos during the late 1990s.

"'Desire' is actually my middle name. I hated it when I was a kid, but now I like it," she said. "And wisdom is very important to me. I want to keep acquiring it."

Past TLA president Gretchen McCord Hoffmann, who received her master of information science degree from UNT, posed in a rowboat on Austin's Lady Bird Lake as Ms. August 2010. Her tattoo is a starfish on her upper back.

"Rowing is a passion of mine, and when I decided to get a tattoo, I wanted something having to do with water," said Hoffmann, an attorney in Austin. "I always thought that the starfish is an elegant creature, but surprisingly strong."

Other calendar models with a UNT connection are:

  • Cover model Cecilia Barham ('00, M.S.)
  • Introductory page model Jayne Kitterman ('95 M.S.)
  • Ms. January 2010 Haley Holmes ('07 Ph.D)
  • Ms. May 2010 Gisela Hernandez, a current master of library science student
  • Ms. July 2010 Cheryl Hollingsworth ('06 M.S.)
  • Ms. January 2011 Pat Reese ('00 M.S.), currently a librarian in UNT's Science and Technology Library.  
  • Ms. March 2011 Lindsay Taylor, a current master of library science student and employee of the Willis Library
  • Ms. June 2011 Jennifer Myers ('09 M.S.)

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