Alycia SellieMedia and Cultural Studies Librarian Brooklyn College
THIS TALK • What’s a zine? • The Brooklyn College Library Zine Collection • My goals and experiments with the collection • (Why) libraries should (still) collect alternative publications
WHAT IS A ZINE, ANYWAY? Zines (a contraction of “magazines”) are independent publications often authored/assembled by an individual or small group, reproduced on a photocopier, and distributed inexpensively in small runs, or traded from person to person. Zines are intentionally print publications. People make zines today because they want to cut, fold, paste and stamp and create something by hand.
In terms of content,zines are writtenabout any topic thatyou can think of(and more likely theydiscuss topics that youhaven’t ever thoughtabout).Often zinesters beginpublishing becausethey feel that topicsthat are important tothem are beingoverlooked or ignoredin the mainstreammedia.
GOAL: SHOWCASE OUR LIBRARY AS ALIVING ARCHIVE“I’d go to the elementary school library and doodlepoems into the books. The teachers thought I wasdefacing school property but what I was actuallytrying to do was put myself up on a library shelf.” –Zohra Saed
GOAL: CLEARLY DEFINE WHAT WE COLLECTOur collection primarily consists of:(1) Print zines. This is a print zine collection, and thus no e-zines or online materials are accepted as part of the collection at this time.(2) Zines that are connected to Brooklyn, support the interests of the students at Brooklyn College, or would support the curriculum of Brooklyn College.(3) Zines made by Brooklyn College students or alumni–any zine made by our students or alumni will be accepted into the collection (regardless of where it was created or any connections to Brooklyn).(4) Zines about zines, zine-making and zine culture.(5) Zines that discuss life from the perspective of members of the Working Class, or zines that are made by people/students who balance work, life and scholarship simultaneously.
COLLECTION BUILDING BY THE SEAT OF YOUR PANTSKeep your eyes open. CHRIS DODGEPick up printed matter wherever you go: community centers, co-ops, record stores, coffee shops,laundromats, doctors offices, the sidewalk.Glean information from these about other unfamiliar publications.Send for sample copies of things that sound interesting.Dont be afraid to occasionally read things with smeary ink, sharp staples, small print, and clumsydesign.Attend zine shows, comics conventions, book fairs, and the like.Ask friends who travel to send you their finds. (Reimburse them or reciprocate.)Make a deal with someone at a newsstand or bookstore to procure the samples they receive fromdistributors. (Tip of the hat to Jim Danky for this idea.)Monitor Internet discussion groups.Foster connections with everyone in the community--including prisoners, children, homelesspeople, publishers, authors, journalists, and activists.Those publications given away in your foyers-- local arts papers, lesbigay magazines, ethnicnewspapers: catalog these and keep back issues.Leave the comfort of your offices and reference desks to go treasure hunting out of doors.