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Librarians to Portland readers: 'Show us your tats!'

Ryan Severino asked Steve Roskoski, a Multnomah County Library librarian's assistant to match his tattoo with a book at the Central Library. (Stuart Tomlinson/KATU)

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Crazy looking bees. Flying hearts. Oh, and skulls - lots of skulls.

Those are just a few of the tattoos from those of a literary bent posted on the Multnomah County Library’s Twitter account for their #books4tats campaign.

Steve Roskoski, a library assistant, said he and his fellow librarians (some with their own tattoos) came up with the idea to match readers with books based on their tats. It’s Portland after all.

“Book recommending and finding people good reads is something we do every day here at the Multnomah County Library,” Roskoski said. “Social media is a great way to interact with those people - and we’ve seen a great response. We had over 150 awesome tattoos sent in.”

That number will continue to grow, Roskoski suspects, as the word gets out.

“There were so many interesting and unusual tattoos,” Roskoski said. “Some things really simple like a number of people actually had a semi-colon and that was the only thing we had to go on.”

One, Roskoski said, included a horse with crystals growing out of its head and an outer space background.

Roskoski said librarians are also willing to recommend books for tats in person. Which is what reader Ryan Severino found out at the Central Library earlier this week.

Severino’s elaborate tattoo takes up much of his upper left arm and includes a heart with wings and a stab wound, koi fish and a dove. Based on the tattoo, Roskoski suggested Portland author Chuck Palahniuk’s book, “Pygmy.”

“Karate moves on the back - that looks good already,” Severino said. “The Manchurian Candidate meets South Park. Beautiful.”

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