Archive for the zinelibrarians Category

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:


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

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

Join us for a Virtual Meetup for Barefoot Zine Librarians

The zine collection that will be the basis of Emergent Zine Library

This is a photo of the zine collection in my living room that will soon turn into a pop up zine library experiment in Kansas City, MO.

During the 2013 Zine Librarian’s Unconference, I became aware of a desire to connect more with the zine librarians group. I wanted more opportunities to share support, resources, and solidarity with other people who are making zine libraries happen. I also knew I might not be able to attend the next conference in person, and this made me desire more online possibilities for sharing and support.

Milo also took interest in this idea, and he contacted me about arranging our first zine librarian’s virtual meetup.

The result is that we will attempt to use google hangout to host a virtual meetup for barefoot zine librarians. “Barefoot” libraries and librarians are ones that are usually autonomous and not affiliated with public or academic libraries. Infoshops, Community Centers, zine libraries in your garage – they are all relevant!

Right now we are choosing the dates. You can help by passing the word onto other barefoot zine librarians and marking your availability on the doodle poll.


Hope to see you at the meeting!




Librarians getting jazzy at the end of Iowa City ZLuC


Standing: Joshua, Matthew, Marya, Honor, Jude, Chris, Lisa, Stephanie
Seated: Jenna, Colleen, Kelly, Elissah, Kalmia, Milo

Photo by Matthew at the Iowa City Zine Librarians unConference. Read the ICZLuC session notes linked from the schedule grids.


Here’s a zine that I put together about xZINECOREx.  Please print a copy and share with folks who are interested.

Zinecore Zine Flats

(flats updated to include correct © info for the cover artist)

MKE ZLUC happened

Check out the notes from the Zine Librarians Unconference held in Milwaukee earlier this month. Go to the schedule page to see what was discussed and to read any notes posted.

Two highlights

zine librarian zine 3: do it yourself in your library
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