Code of Ethics November 2015 final draft

The November 2015 edition is now available in beautiful zine format for printing (pdf) or as a boring Word document. (The pdf version above is slightly revised, with contact information and a Creative Commons license.)

Thanks to Kelly Wooten for the lovely work creating the zine formatted version. And thanks again to everyone who’s contributed–if you contributed and your name isn’t on the list, please let us know by emailing zinepavilion at gmail.

For your attachment-viewing pleasure:
Zine-Librarians-Code-of-Ethics_FINAL-DRAFT *

Big thanks to Joshua and Jeremy for getting the final draft ready! Thanks to everyone who’s contributed–please get in touch with Jeremy or Joshua to have your name added to the list of contributors at the end of the document.

*updated version with list of contributors

Updated to add the zine version:
Zine Librarians Code of Ethics Zine

Code of Ethics Documents

A buncha zine librarians and non-zine/librarians have been working on a Zine Librarian Code of Ethics. Earlier we posted parts of the Code for your review and comments. Here is the Code in one document for your (hopeful) final review. There are questions that came out of this round of edits, and I seek the advice of the group. Please comment if you wish. And thank so much for your time!




Input, please!

Multiple groups of zine librarians are developing a codes of ethic (name might change) and want feedback from zine creators, zine readers, zine librarians, zine scholars and whoever all else wants to give their input.


Code of ethics revision – Access (saving it as a G document to see if that will better facilitate collaboration)
Code of ethics revision – Use
Code of ethics revision – Acquisitions (Heidy’s updates at the bottom, still in progress)



Code of ethics draft preamble
Code of ethics draft – Access
Code of ethics draft- Privacy
Code of Ethics Draft: Use
Code of Ethics – Acquisitions
Code of Ethics Draft – Subject Analysis

Please provide your feedback in the comments for each separate page. If that’s burdensome, share feedback some other way! You can email Jenna Freedman if you want. The due date is February 14th at midnight your time. Thanks!

Zine Librarians Code of Ethics: Use

Whereas “access” is getting to read and look at online archives, or in places like zine libraries, zine fairs, or special collections reading rooms, “use” means reproducing or quoting from zines. Reproduction can include copying zines in their original formats and redistributing them; printing portions in books; or any kind of online sharing, from comprehensive archive projects, to publishing images online newspapers, blogs, or any form of social media. This section should guide yourself and others when it comes to questions of zine use best practices and ethics regarding copyright and seeking permissions (and using citations!)

Most importantly, we consider ourselves members of a community:  As zine makers and zine librarians, our practices are not just about what’s legal, but also about what’s respectful to the people and the work.


Copyright and Ethical Use

The U.S. copyright code has a special section for libraries, allowing librarians to make copies for researchers to use for their own research. This assumes you won’t be sharing it or reproducing it in any way. If you do want to reproduce something, copyright law requires that you ask permission from authors (there are time restrictions on these, but we’re assuming that you’re mostly going to be working with late 20th century and contemporary authors, so these won’t apply). If you are reproducing for educational purposes or significantly transforming the original, your use may fall under Fair Use (discussed further below).

However, in our experience, reproducing or sharing zines is not just about copyright. It’s also about zinesters’ right to decide how their work is distributed and how widely, and how it is contextualized. It’s also about community, respect, and just being a nice person.

Zines are not like mass-distributed books. They are often self-published and self-distributed, and sometimes printed in very small runs, intended for a small audience. In addition, perzines are by definition “personal,” and zinesters may feel different about having their zines distributed in print than they would about having them openly available on the internet or print. This can be especially true in the case of “historical” zines in library collections — for example, a teen girl writing a zine for her close friends in 1994 may not want her zine distributed online or in print 20 years later.

Some zinesters also feel that context is important. This can mean the format – that it was meant to be on paper, and held in the hands – or it can mean that the zine works best when it’s read as a whole, rather than having one or a few pages excerpted or reprinted.


Asking for permission

There are many different uses of zines you should seek permission for. For students and researchers who want to use excerpts or even images in an academic paper that isn’t going to be published in print or online, a citation is usually enough. [See “Cite this Zine” zine:]  If you want to publish an image from a zine in print or online, we recommend obtaining permission from authors. There are some gray areas or casual uses that zinesters may not usually request permission for, like posting a picture from a zine or the cover on Twitter or Instagram or in a blog, usually with a short credit including the title of the zine and/or the author. Copying an entire zine, even for personal use, is generally not a respectful practice unless the creator specifies copyleft or appropriate Creative Commons permissions.

In cases where you are not planning to reproduce a zine, researchers or journalists writing extensively about a particular zine creator or community should get in touch with those people directly. The zine library holding their works is not a proxy for the people who created them.

Whenever you reproduce or describe a zine online, in social media, in a library catalog or website, or other venue, if the zine creator(s) contact you and request that you remove the content or edit it, we recommend respecting their wishes. You may be able to argue fair use based on these principles: (1) the purpose of the use; (2) the nature of the work used; (3) the amount and substantiality of the work used; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the work used. However, in our community, it’s not just about what’s legal, it’s about what’s respectful. We advise getting explicit permission whenever possible.

What does asking for permission mean? If you are publishing a book or academic article, the editor or publisher may provide you with their official form to get a signature. You can create your own form if you are working independently. If you use a formal letter, we recommend writing a more conversational email explaining who you are and what you are seeking.

What to include (from the Purdue Library website):

  1. Your name, address, telephone number, and email address.
  2. Your title/position and name of any institution you might be affiliated with.
  3. The date of your request.
  4. A complete and accurate citation.
  5. A precise description of the proposed use of the copyrighted material as well as when and for how long the material will be used.
  6. A signature line for the copyright holder including their title if they are representing a company and the date.

Tracking down the creator of a zine can be difficult, particularly for those published in the 1990s (pre-internet/email times) or under a pseudonym. If you can find contact info on the zine, try using that, or using google to search for an email address, blog, facebook account, etc., to make your request. The zine librarians email list [] or other online forums may be helpful in tracking down people. Document your efforts to contact the person. If you are doing a project with multiple zines that require permission, use a spreadsheet to keep track of when/how you attempted contact. This will not completely protect you legally, but it is important to do your due diligence in this process. If a zine has more than one author, you may need to contact the editor (if there is one clear person) as well as the creator of the content you wish to use. Locating one of those people will most likely lead you to the others. Sometimes if a zine was created collectively, one person may feel authorized to speak for the group, and in other cases, they may wish to each individually give permission for the usage.

Guide to copyright permissions:

Fair Use for Libraries:


Research Guide Page for notes from ZLuC 2015


Kelly McElroy, Honor Moody, Dianne Laguerta, Jennifer LaSuprema and Jude Vachon at ZLuC 2015 bar time.

Questions we’d like to address on page:


  • What info can you get from zines? Why use zines in your research?
  • Challenges in researching zines? e.g. metadata
  • Resources for researching zines:
  1. zinewiki – can we reach out 1x/yr to ask people to update zinewiki entries?
  2. info
  3. zinelibrarians yahoo group
  4. Google zine libraries/archives map
  • Particular areas, examples of richness, that zines do well with e.g. health, queer zines, trans zines, punk music… – we can link here to lists we made/are going to make of zines in particular categories
  • ALTHOUGH zines are about absolutely anything/everything


We also thought it would be good to post a sample research guide on one subject e.g. bikes.


PS Can we have a Donate Zines page on

Session 1a: Zine Union Catalog Update, ZLuC

In Milwaukee we decided we needed a metadata standard that is interchangeable between folks who work as barefoot librarians and academic and public libraries.

Last year (2014 in NC): we will have breakout groups. Since September we’ve had a core group (Jenna, Milo, Honor, Rhonda, Alyssa, Eric, Christina), and we’ve had teleconferences/work sessions every 2 weeks

Notes are all on etherpad:

Current conversation: we’re ready to start building a union catalog and wondering what that means:

Soliciting funds for server space ($140 of $240 annual fee through in-house fundraising)

Taking xxZINECORExx and mapped it to Dublin Core terms. Currently lives at GitHub: ,

Each of the fields has a scope note in the field.

Things that got codified during our work:

Genre terms in terms of Content and Form of material:

Form vs. Content:

Type, carrier type: print, audio, video, e-zine

Content: subject matter (e.g., cook zine, diy zine, do we want hierarchies?, fanzine, literary zine) –> we need to work on equivalencies and/or hierarchies… e.g., Parent zines and sub topic: mama zine, papa zine

Genre form: 24-hour zine, APA zines (Amateur press association)

We would like to have a preferred term for things that is local to an institution but refers to the preferred vocabulary term.

Pull from different vocabularies like local taxonomies

Anchor archive vocabulary is already accessible via linked open data (thanks to: ____ — please fill in the name?)

There was a need for scope notes to allow for inclusive catalog with different vocabularies so we added scope notes for terms for disambiguate

Difference institutions will share all their information — collection metadata that will be ingested into the union catalog. In local catalog, there may be more or less fields but can be individualized for a local library. In essence, every record will probably need to be touched at the local level.

Question: a lot of zine libraries haven’t cataloged all their zines. It’s a great resource but it would be great for crowd-sourcing. Yes… this is cooperative cataloging — you add titles and you can download your titles too.

small archives that don’t have professional archivists and this might help folks who don’t have staff to catalog — we could help with technical aspects or funding, even. Scope notes should help to make the ease of access without a lot of training. Should be able to prepopulate and make it easily ingestible.

Serials vs monographs — flexibility to use the metadata and tweak it to work in their own collection. Like use a serial record even if you only have one of the issues.

We don’t have a lot of required fields so if you have minimal data, you can still participate.

Provenance to the cataloging itself: We would have institutional/administrative metadata so we could tell who created the record.

Platform to use? We will probably start that this afternoon… might be one that already exists (Collective Access? or our own?) — need some tech consultations starting tomorrow too.

**Need linked data specialist, technical folks. We will share the link to the email listserv.

**Outreach would be super important — make a zine about it. Jude is moved by all this work by all this content and its creators. Resources: making the most of all of our resources and so are all of the people who work on them, makes it that much more powerful.

**Sequel to xxZINECORExx zine that Milo did a few years ago.

Allison at U. of Florida: published an article on cataloging zines in RDA: project of articulating why what we do as cataloging zines matter — if you already know the theory and need to share the greater work and empower people to use the great knowledge they have of their collections and how that enriches the greater knowledge of the collective collections of everyone.

** show locations of zines like worldcat but not evil.

**Readerware (?) separate databases for books and periodicals and zines are subhierarchy of periodical. 2009 link to what is a zine and what is not a zine. Jenna to post on twitter now. Zine vs. chapbook? Has an ISSN? Not a zine.

What do we consider a zine? Fanzines? (Riverside that focus on scifi zines).

NEXT STEPS: we might be at the point for needing a tech consultant to guide group toward grants to apply for.

human resource: coding/paying for work; how do we communicate to let everyone work outside of silos.

Jude: wants to work on zine vol. 2 whenever that happens/matters

***How do we keep updated? we don’t post much on the listserv, should we? Or should we post a summary of zineunioncatalog meetings to the and provide a link to the listserv as well… as long as we include pictures of cats.



Application due May 11, 2015!!

For the fourth consecutive year, zine librarians & their friends are subsidizing a librarian of color’s participation in the Zine Librarians Unconference. Here is the application form.

We recognize an underrepresentation of people of color (POC) in previous (un)Conferences, and it is because we value the contributions, leadership and presence of POCs at the conference that we offer this travel grant. Grant winners may spend the money however they see fit, e.g., airfare, childcare, food, etc. We have about $300 total to award.

Your answers to these questions will help volunteers from library and zine communities award scholarships to zine librarians & archivists (including aspiring ones) to attend the Zine Librarians (un)Conference 2015 in Austin, Texas on June 5th & 6th at the Perry-Casteñeda Library at 21st & Speedway on the University of Texas‘s main campus. It is free to attend.

Help an unemployed zine librarian (or two) get to the zine librarians unconference

This year two of our regular ZLUC participants won’t be able to make it to the conference in Austin because their former employers are at least a little bit douchey. Let’s see if we can help ’em out! Paypal your donation to, Venmo it to leslzine, or mail a check to Jenna Freedman | 203 Rivington St. #3C | NYC, NY 10002.

A straw that led to the one of the zine librarians quitting her job:

The other one lost her job (after ten years pre- and post-MLS) when her position was deemed nonessential–“But can you help us with department planning before you go?” Like the other out-of-work librarian, she’d been a creative and proactive employee, founding the zine library, for example.

Donations so far: $360 + dorm room

$50 from a research & instruction librarian in New York
$30 from a zine archivist in Texas
$50 from a zine librarian in New York
$50 from a librarian in North Carolina
$40 from a librarian in Illinois
$40 from two wannabe zine librarians in Arkansas
$50 from a zine librarian in New York’s bonus mother
dorm room fee from an anonymous source
$50 from a zine librarian in Massachusetts

Chicago area folks and librarians headed to Midwinter!

If you’re in Chicago on Friday January 30th, 2015, you’ll want to attend this fun, informative event coordinated with the 2015 American Library Association Midwinter conference:

Thinking about Organizing a Zine or Comics Event?

Join fellow librarians and zine enthusiasts at the legendary Quimby’s Bookstore to discuss running a successful zine or comics event – whether it’s a one-hour DIY workshop for teens or a festival with thousands of attendees. Librarians, zinesters, and comics makers will share stories and tips about developing community through events, and then open the floor to your questions. After the event (and time for browsing) we’ll head around the corner to Dimo’s for pizza.

This event is free and open to the public–we encourage anyone interested who loves zines or libraries to attend!

When: Friday January 30th, 2015, 7 pm
Where: Quimby’s Bookstore, 854 W North Ave, Chicago IL  60622 (near the Damen blue line L stop)
Facebook event: Hope to see you there!

Portland Zine Symposium 2011

Surveys for Zine Makers and Zine Librarians

Darlings, a band of zine librarians is working to develop a catalog that would contain information about zines held in multiple libraries–one place you could go and find zines and determine who has them. We want to know what you think about that. To that end, we’ve made two surveys:

one for zine creators, readers and scholars

and one for zine librarians and archivists.

Please fill out one or both, as appropriate to your role(s) in zinedom.

Thank you! Blame/credit for the surveys goes to Madeline Veitch and me, with thanks to people who gave us feedback (MM, LD, ES, SSL, MG, E).

Survey squirrels, licensed for reuse from
Survey squirrels from Deviant Art