With precious magazines paid forward, we are rebels with tat mags and a cause

Tattoos have adorned bodies, and the covers and pages of magazines ranging from National Geographic and Smithsonian to Teen Vogue and Ladies Home Journal, and genre periodicals like Tattoo, Skin & Ink, Tattoo Flash, International Tattoo Art, and Think. Tattoos are age-old representations of art and culture that instigate free spirit. This year, librarians of the Rhode Island Library Association are sporting tats on a sold out calendar to fund their mission.  In their words, “Libraries are unique as they simultaneously foster the preservation of histories and traditions, while fighting censorship and fostering cutting-edge learning environments. Likewise, tattoos can also represent the preservation of history and resistance of the norm.”
Tattoo magazines had special meaning for “crazy uncle Andy,” explained Tiffany, who dropped them off for our delivery to new readers.  As a kid, he didn’t feel like he “fit in.” Tattoo magazines helped Andy to understand that he was not alone, and to find his place, and inspired his expression through graphic art.  The magazines that Tiffany shared from Andy’s collection feature storytelling about tattoos from Detroit to Tahiti, including an article about a “Tatau” festival at the foot of Mount Temehani, which, according to International Tattoo Art, was once referred to by Polynesians as the “realm of souls.”
Thank you Andy and Craig, Tiffany and Carol – for sharing your cherished magazines for literacy.
During February, patrons of the Kitchen Gallery in Madison, WI are sharing their magazine love by gifting favorite culinary magazines for students enrolled in culinary training programs at food banks and food pantries, like the training program for commercial bakers at the River Food Pantry. One patron offered every issue of Gourmet magazine back to 1949 – an incredibly generous investment of a very precious magazine collection for literacy.  Culinary magazines give students a competitive edge in the job market by inspiring contemporary food preparation and food presentation skills.
Reading is Fundamental says that two-thirds of children in poverty live in homes with no books. With titles for every reading level and interest, magazines are especially powerful for literacy.  On Saturday and Sunday, April 12th and 13th we will be conducting a newsstand magazine drive for literacy at the Whole Foods store in Madison – like a food drive, but to feed people hungry to read.  Our goal is to mobilize the community to buy every single newsstand copy for delivery to our readers via mentoring, job training, financial literacy, shelter, and foster care programs. We are literacy innovators and instigators with big outside-the-box ideas for all these focus areas.  Our mantra is to disrupt poverty.  Our mission is to get magazines into hands and homes to promote reading.  Imagine the great success of delivering a Babybug or Ranger Rick  or Hello magazine to a mom in a domestic violence shelter, only to realize that she is unable to read it to her child.  Imagine delivery of English-language magazines to many places overseas where English is not native.  That’s “the last mile” challenge that we face as we build our human capital pipeline.
Babybug  babybug_story  Share the Comfort and Joy
There are countless benefits to holding a printed magazine in your hands while exploring the pages yourself or with a child. Certainly having the magazines themselves is invaluable for building a first bridge across the chasm, but we need to do more.  For example – digital and audio translation of magazine articles for use along with the printed media.
Consider mentoring and financial literacy or nutrition education.  At first a mentor and child or even two adults in a financial literacy or nutrition education class are strangers trying to get to know each other.  Discussion around a reading interest – perhaps a common interest – can break the ice leading to deeper learning around school and life subjects like math, science, history, art, culture, and balancing a checkbook, or preparing healthier meals with limited financial resources or food selection.  With titles for every interest and passionate fans, magazines can be this bridge – month after month.  We are exploring new ways to promote magazines and financial literacy in the classroom with Sam Renick’s Dream Big Center, and others, and have culinary education programs underway.
What are your favorite magazines and magazine memories?  Pay your favorite magazines forward.  Poverty is big, but you can be bigger.  Invest in our mission to disrupt poverty by getting valuable magazines into the hands, homes, and hearts of at-risk children and families who want to learn and love to read them.  Fund magazine gifts for literacy. Organize a drive to clear every magazine from a newsstand in your community for delivery to at-risk children and families.  Register literacy programs to receive magazines for literacy.
Join us to change the world, one magazine, one reader at a time.