It’s no secret that I love zines (which I often describe as self-published mini magazines). I’ve been reading them since I was in high school, and I’ve made many close friends because of them. So when the possibility of creating a zine collection for teens at my library (the Homer Township Public Library) was brought up, I got REALLY EXCITED. A few months later, we now have a small collection of zines available (which still makes me REALLY EXCITED). So here’s a little bit about the how and the why, in case you want to do something similar.
Why a zine collection for teens? There are several reasons. Many teens have never heard of or seen a zine. As a librarian, I am lucky to have a public space in which to introduce someone to new things. I also think it’s our responsibility to offer collections of all kinds, and while zines will never be as recognized as other forms of media, that doesn’t make them of any less value. Having zines at the library (and offering books, pamphlets, and workshops about zines) shows teens that you don’t have to be a super famous writer in order to have your voice heard. All you need is a story to tell & access to a photocopier.
How did I create this collection? The short version is this: Once I got the okay from my director, I did some research on zine collections in public libraries, and then I headed to Quimby’s. I was able to spend a few hours sitting on their floor, flipping through hundreds of different zines and mini-comics (I wanted to make sure what I was buying was age appropriate, of course). I pulled a few zines from my own collection, had some zines donated by friends, and then I bought Whatcha Mean What’s a Zine? and Stolen Sharpie Revolution. We decided not to catalog the zines, and to keep them as an in-house-only collection (for the meantime, at least). I purchased a small bin to store them, made up a sign, printed off a few copies of Zines 101 (thanks, Zine World!), and started to spread the word. I spent about $100, and now we have a unique collection of awesome zines in my teen space.
Zines are not usually found on the shelves within public libraries (although the number is increasing each year). I’m lucky enough to have a director who is supportive of new ideas and a teen community that is responsive to additions to the YA collection. As a zine enthusiast and a public librarian, it doesn’t get any better than this.