Presentation on the locality of zine culture

Our friend and zine scholar Kiyoshi Murakami recently gave a presentation on how important the local aspect of zine culture can be. You can see his presentation notes online: Zine Culture and Locality/Regionality: The Significance of Practices Derived from That Relationship (consider using DeepL for a more accurate translation). Murakami describes the significance of small local publishers to cultural formation in local communities. He also talks about the usefulness of zine events like workshops or zine fests, and recommends zine archiving as a valuable practice, suggesting that zine libraries might best be created in partnership with public libraries, public museums, and community centers.

Chicago’s Read/Write Library pops up

The Read/Write Library in Chicago has a pop-up exhibit happening now through July 21st at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum. After being closed for three years, it’s great to see the library back in action! The Read/Write Library collects books, comics, journals, newspapers, and zines published by those in the Chicago area.

The pop-up also included an abridged history of the library written by founder and executive director Nell Taylor.

  • February 2006: In the middle of a blizzard, forty strangers gather at the now-defunct Mercury Cafe in West Town to discuss the project. People bring materials to donate, and more keep coming after. Volunteer librarians and archivists convene weekly in my Humboldt Park apartment to devise new approaches to cataloging and presenting collections that prioritize representation and self-determination. At first, we would call it Chicago Underground Library, using media to connect the dots between different creative communities—ones that might exist for only brief moments in apartment galleries, basement DIY venues, or purely as ephemera. Very quickly, we expanded beyond creative material to draw connections between neighborhoods, cultural and political movements, and everyday residents of the city.
  • Fall 2006: We move the growing collection into a filing cabinet in the basement of MoJoe’s Hot House, a coffee shop in Avondale. Anyone interested could learn how to catalog the library material through our Cataloging Socials.
  • Fall 2007: MoJoe’s is sold. The collection finds a new home at Butchershop, a gallery and studios for artists and musicians on Lake Street. Still humble in size, the growing library now occupies two filing cabinets.
  • Winter 2008: The arts and activism-focused publication AREA Chicago and the artist residency inCUBATE form the Orientation Center in a storefront at the Congress Theater in Logan Square, and invite the Underground Library to be a partner in the space.
  • Winter 2010: Center closes. We move the collection into the lobby of Red Tape Theater, in the parish house of St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in East Lakeview.
  • January 2011: Another Chicago blizzard blows open the windows of the parish house and buries half the collection in snow. Thanks to quick work by conservation volunteers, most of the materials are salvaged (you may notice some crinkly zines here). The library leaves St. Peters; we begin programming Pop Up Libraries in Uptown, Logan Square, and elsewhere throughout the city to keep the collection public as we look for a new home.
  • Fall 2011: The library returns to Humboldt Park in a new and permanent location, and we change its name to Read/Write Library in recognition of its unique, participatory, and community-driven nature. Pop Up Libraries continue as a regular part of the programming, tailored to the locations and audiences of our partner schools, arts and community centers, and others across the city—even in other cities and states.
  • Winter 2017: After years of developing our programs, we triple the size of our Humboldt Park space, making room for expanded activities and collection access. As the collection reaches new audiences, it continues to grow, filling out the larger space.
  • Winter 2021: The gentrification of Humboldt Park catches up with us. Rising rental costs force Read/Write Library to leave after a decade in the neighborhood, fifteen years after we first convened there. The collection goes dark, placed in storage.
  • Spring 2024: Read/Write Library returns! With the summer Pop Up Library at the Jane Addams Hull-House Museum, one of Chicago’s historic centers of community-driven cultural production, we are excited to reopen the library to readers and contributors.

A small room with a sign reading Read/ Write Library and shelves displaying newsletters, newspapers, journals, books, and zines

A corkboard with papers featuring preprinted questions and handwritten and handdrawn answers.

International Zine Month 2024

July is International Zine Month!! IZM was created in 2009 by Alex Wrekk (Stolen Sharpie Revolution, Brainscan, etc.) to celebrate zines and zinesters. There’s a list of suggested activities at Alex’s website, Stolen Sharpie Revolution. Use hashtag #IZM2024 to share what you’re doing. Make a special note of Sunday July 21st, which is Zine Library Day! The traditional way to recognize Zine Library Day is by visiting a zine library and bringing them a tasty snack. Consider planning an event in your library!

Love this image! It was created by Nina Zina of Echo Zines, a feminist zine distro.

drawing of a person sitting in a living room while wearing a face mask and reading a zine. Text reads "International Zine Month July 2024"

image by Nina Zina of Echo Zines

Zine Pavilion 2024 in San Diego

For those of you attending the ALA Annual Conference in San Diego, there are some great events planned at the Zine Pavilion:

  • Saturday June 29, noon–2 pm: Gaming Round Table x Zine Pavilion Zine Jam
  • Sunday June 30, 10–11:30 am: Zines as Graphic Medicine for Librarians, presented by Cassy Lee
  • Sunday June 30, noon–1 pm: Maintaining a Zine Collection panel discussion
  • Sunday June 30, 2–3 pm: How to Host a Zine Event panel discussion

Find the Zine Pavilion on the exhibit hall floor at booth 2742. The Zine Pavilion is open the same hours at the exhibit hall (aka the “Library Marketplace”):

  • Friday June 28: 5:30 pm–7 pm
  • Saturday June 29: 9 am–5 pm
  • Sunday June 30: 9 am–5 pm
  • Monday July 1: 9 am–2 pm

We’re looking forward to seeing everyone there!

map of the exhibit hall floor at ALA Annual 2024, showing the location of booth 2742 at the back of the exhibit hall

click for an expandable map of the exhibit hall floor

Launch of the South Side Zine Library in Chicago

five metal library shelves filled with boxes of zines and zine making supplies

June 9th marked the launch of the South Side Zine Library, located within the Richard J Daley Branch of the Chicago Public Library (3400 S Halsted St in Bridgeport). The new library is a partnership between Chicago Public Library, Quimby’s Bookstore, Zine Club Chicago. Founded by Cynthia Hanifin, the library got an excellent kickoff with readings, zine making, and a punk a capella performance.

a crowd of people talking in small groups and reading zines one shelf of the zine library, showing a fishbowl full of paper slips with creative prompts, a guide to making a mini zine, and a sign reading "zine making supplies, please help yourself"

Interview with the Asia Art Archive zine librarian

screenshot of the article "Hong Kong zine librarian Sam Chao on the importance of keeping an accessible archive" featuring a photo of Chao showing off wooden cabinets containing the zine collection.

Really enjoyed this insight into the zine collection at the Asia Art Archive (AAA) in Hong Kong. In the article “Hong Kong zine librarian Sam Chao on the importance of keeping an accessible archive,” Kelly Ho of the Hong Kong Free Press describes the collection, of which 70% is created by artists based in Hong Kong. The collection includes what is likely the city’s first official zine catalogue. The Zine Librarians Code of Ethics also gets a shoutout.

Be sure to check out all four parts of the Hong Kong Free Press series on Hong Kong’s zine scene.

Poster on Zine-Making in Libraries, Archives, and Museums

A poster created by Emma Metcalfe Hurst and Marsha Taichman describing “DIY: Zine-Making in LAMS, for LAMS” was presented at the ARLIS/NA 52nd Annual Conference (Art Libraries Society of North America) in April. The poster, shaped like a minizine (!!), describes benefits and challenges of zine-making in libraries, archives, and museums. It also links to a survey on zine-making in LAMS that’s open until May 28th, which has an option for respondents to share digital copies of their zines to help LIS workers get inspired to make their own zines. Please take the survey and share with colleagues to help with that research!

ZLuC 2024 BIPOC Travel Grant

Every year, the zine libraries community raises money to help a person of color attend the Zine Librarians unConference (ZLuC). This year’s ZLuC will be held Sunday August 3rd and 4th in New York City. This grant is intended to help with associated travel and/or family care costs. No receipts are requested or required: we just give you money to attend!

If you are Black, Indigenous, and/or a POC and would like to apply for the ZLuC 2024 BIPOC Travel Grant, please fill out this application. Applications will be accepted until May 1st. All applicants will be contacted by the week of May 13th.

Would you be willing to support the grant to ensure BIPOC attendees are supported? If so, please consider donating! 100% of donations go directly to grant recipients.

  • Paypal: @violetbfox
  • Venmo: @violetfox
  • Cashapp: $violetbfox

Be sure to mention “ZLUC” in the notes! To arrange an alternate form of payment, please email violetfox @ gmail. com.

New zine fest organized by Reed College librarians

The first Reed Zine Fest, to be held March 30, 2024, was organized by Reed College (Portland, Oregon) librarians Ann Matsushima Chiu and Chlöe Van Stralendorff. An article in the Reed College magazine, Risograph Dreams by Megan Burbank, highlights their work coordinating the fest and offering other tools like a risograph machine and zine-making kits. If you’re in the Portland, Oregon area, go check out the new zine fest to support their work! screenshot of the article "Risograph Dreams" with an image of a librarian replacing the ink in a risograph machine

New pagan zine collection at San Diego State

Here’s a new collection that I’d missed when it was first announced in October: the new Pagan Zines Collection at San Diego State University. The blog post Exploring Paganism Through A New Zine Collection by Rebecca Williamson describes the collection:

The Pagan Zines also augment SDSU’s larger collection of materials regarding spirituality and religion. This new collection consists of periodicals and books published primarily in the United Kingdom and Europe during the 1980s and 1990s. It represents a wide range of strands within the pagan movement, including Wicca, Druidry, Asatru, Heathenism, Slavic Native Faith, Finnic Native Faith, and similar movements. Topics include cultural history, archaeology, anthropology, folklore, and current events.

New zine library at University of North Texas

fun, brightly colored graphic with words reading Artist Books to ZinesHere’s an interesting event taking place on Saturday March 23rd at the University of North Texas (near Dallas/Fort Worth):

From Artists’ Books to Zines is a new initiative from UNT Special Collections in conjunction with our Biennial Artists’ Book Competition to provide students and other attendees interested in the book arts field an opportunity to connect with other artists and creators working in the medium, foster engaging scholarship and discussion related to the field, explore and promote the reemergence of zines and their connections to the book arts field, and to honor and celebrate the participants and winners of the 2023-2024 Artists’ Book Competition cycle.

During From Artists’ Books to Zines, attendees will have the opportunity to listen to curated panels related to the book arts featuring UNT and TWU faculty, community organizers, and artists, hear a keynote presentation with recognized book artist Candace Hicks, view a pop-up exhibition of 2023-2024 Artists’ Book Competition entries, take part in a collaborative zine workshop, attend the official opening of UNT Special Collection’s new browsable zine library, and attend the reception for the Artists’ Book Competition where winners and honorable mentions will be recognized and announced. The symposium will be free to attend and food and refreshments will be provided throughout the day, but registration will be required due to space constraints.

ZLuC 2024: get excited!!

Planning for this year’s Zine Librarians unConference is heating up! ZLuC 2024 will be held on the campus of New York University in Manhattan on Saturday August 3rd and Sunday August 4th. There will also be optional library tours on the afternoon of Sunday August 4th.

There’s now a call for both remote and in-person presentation proposals. Consider sharing your passion and knowledge about zine librarianship at ZLuC 2024.

You can find all the information about the event as it is announced at the wiki for ZLuC 2024. Hope to see you there!

hand drawn flyer with a big apple and skyline of Manhattan and text reading "Zine Librarians unConference 2024, August 3-4 at NYU."