Notes from sessions, taken by Jerianne:
Promoting Literacy Through Outreach
Cathy Camper & Kim Riot
Cathy has a tub that she brings for outreach programs: glue sticks, clip art, folded paper, tape & dispensers, examples of zines, template(s) for a 1-page zine, pens, newspapers, blunted scissors. Teaches a 2-hour session: quick intro & history of zines, talk about why kids would want to make them; show examples of how to do graphic art (10 minute lesson) – cut & paste with clip art, scotch tape on newspaper (it pulls of the newsprint; you can press it down on other paper to make borders or a collage); talk briefly of reproduction (leaving margins, how color looks photocopied to b&w). Recently restructured focus, offering zine workshops to schools as part of library’s emphasis on outreach; focuses on underprivileged or at-risk kids. Skills can include bibliography, computer skills, art/literature connection.
Kim talked about history of Grrl Zines A Go Go, how interest in wanted to educate people – especially re: mass media issues, younger women who are impressionable – led to Let’s DIY (zine about how to do a workshop). Applying for grant funding led to formation of mission statement (see GZAGG website). Wanted to make it so people take the ideas from the workshops and go forward with it on their own; this led to the second Let’s DIY zine. Said: The internet has opened communication lines (networking) for zines; permanence lies in the physical creation of zines. Now that libraries are collecting zines, we can see how important the physical item is to keep.
Advice for giving workshops – Kim said don’t assume your audience will know what a zine is or that it has a community. With teenagers you need to respect their space and socialization, work with them within that context. Don’t be afraid to vocalize opinions about things. Cathy said to allow a minimum of 2 hours, maybe plan to continue to the next week or day (even if they continue without you). Sometimes kids don’t know what to do; have some examples – personal zine, a topic to focus on, backlist of ideas. Good
idea to talk with the teacher in advance – is there something she wants them to focus on? – and give them a theme. Talk about the artwork – how we can make the zine without using a computer, how to make it look interesting rather than just a school paper. Cathy talks about how the library buys zines, the library’s speaker series. For kids in prison, it gives them a voice, being able to talk to people outside, the potential
to connect. Kim said telling people where they can find zines is important, explain what they can do with their zine when it’s done. Cathy said that when you’re working with young adults, you may never know the ones you will touch. Even if it looks like no one is reacting or cares, it’s still important. Aim for that 20 percent who might be into this idea, for those kids who feel that spark. Give it your all whether the audience responds or not.
From the Ground: Using Zines for Emerging Stories
Lindsae Sindaul & Allynn Carpenter, Bird’s Nest Zine Library
Lindsae talked about how the library started – they found a space, organizers combined their personal collections to start. A lot of the collection is politically focused, personal narratives. Library is run by a small group of volunteers, no budget. Anyone can get a library card, can check out 3 zines for 1 week. Mission statement: Knowledge is power. Self-knowledge & understanding of one’s community is really important, trying to promote & share. Allynn said she has been making zines as long as she can remember. Zines gave her an outlet to talk about being a single parent, an anarchist, her views of the world. In Portland zines are everywhere, but in Spokane no one knew what a zine was. They wanted to increase awareness of zines. Lindsae said a zine can be your story, too. Storywalk (or Story Walk?) is a zine they made: took participants on a walking tour of downtown Spokane to share their stories. One participant wrote a blog
about the zine library. Realization they’re trying to foster: anyone can tell a story. The idea of not being good enough to speak has permeated Spokane culture; they’re not able to verbalize themselves. Zine workshop – people were inspired and didn’t know where to start. They’re committed to not charging fees or requiring paperwork. The challenge is increasing awareness of the library and its function within the
community. Sometimes it’s a culture clash. They’re trying to promote the idea of shared storytelling. They want to make a zine-making station in the library. Kim liked the idea of getting people to relate to the process of documenting and relating their own story; anyone can do this, regardless of their background. Cathy’s ideas: family history, genealogy. Said that Laurel got her family to submit recipes and made a zine for a holiday present. Kim said a zine can be for anybody, not exclusionary. Ex: zines
that came out after Katrina with stories that you never heard about in the mainstream media.
Freestyle moderated discussion
Emily-Jane Dawson, Multnomah County Library
We began by making a list of potential discussion topics (which I didn’t note).
Promoting zine collections / increasing awareness
Kelly — her experience working at a science library at a big university and hosting a zine workshop; it led to a lot of academic questions/discussion. Demonstrated how zines can be a wealth of knowledge that people can tap into that they didn’t know existed.
Emily-Jane / Laurel – sneaking things into other things we’re doing, way to increase awareness. People want medical information but something easy to read (pamphlet, not book), zines can be good for that.
Cathy – spread the work load, find someone who is a good speaker & get them to do a presentation
Emily-Jane – successful events, find organization to partner with you with different community connections
Kelsey – started working with an all-ages club, putting on programs there (Microcosm tour – built-in audience; music – brings in more people)
Jerianne – Rock Camp for Girls book tour; tied well with local rock camp & zine collection
Emily-Jane — Sometimes you have to be brassy (be willing to speak out and say we want you to send us your zine); we tend to be more shy, not outspoken (have to get over that). Can be hard but need to be willing to say “Can you donate this to us” or “can you find a way to work with us.” People who are creating zines are not looking to make a living at this – they’re doing it so people will interact with their zine, read it.
Emily-Jane – We have interesting situation here, two local events every year (Portland Zine Symp, Stumptown). Buying from zines at events is far more easier than dealing with a distro. Also buy from stores. (Gives a chance to examine the zine before buying.) Always ask people who work there for recommendations. Make a zine at your library and be willing to trade with others.
Cathy – Buying at events is more successful (actually get what you expect). Buying from distros was more spotty. Having a selection policy is good for when you reject something. Even if you just say “we reserve the right to decide what’s in the collection,” etc. (avoid bad blood)
Kelsey – What’s helpful is identifying a list of subjects we thought would be most popular/relevant to our community. … If we don’t take a (donated) zine, we have other places we (recommend it goes to). (Delays in cataloging donated zines, sometimes people get impatient, want to know why it’s not in your catalog yet.)
Emily-Jane – We don’t add anything we can’t get multiple copies of. Costs the library lots of money to do the work of cataloging and processing. It’s more efficient (better use of resources), more people will get to use and read it.
Cathy – Intellectual freedom, in public libraries, we feel strongly we should reflect a lot of different viewpoints. That’s where having a collection policy can help. Sometimes weird situation: I’m against violence against women; on other hand I support (freedom of expression). … Yahoo group – opportunity for librarians who have zines and want to donate to another library.
Cathy – Accepting donations of older zines? Can help with historical perspective of collection; archival places want; can be important to community, local history.
Kelly – Having a policy can be useful when you have a rotating door. Volunteers come and go, if there’s something stable, even if it’s open-ended. When someone else comes in, they have something to work with.
Emily-Jane – institutional memory … archive especially in the beginning can forget to archive about itself.
Cathy – The same problems come up again and again.
Kelsey – My library doesn’t want me to encourage, solicit donations. … Thinks part of it is she didn’t want the collection to seem less legitimate.
Emily-Jane – could be concern about having flood of unsolicited donations you’d have to look at; creates cataloging backlog , etc.
Jerianne – maybe if you say “we accept donated zines made in Washington” or “zines on these subjects,” maybe narrowing focus down
Zines and Community Archives/Libraries
Kelly McElroy (former ZAPP volunteer) & Kathryn Higgins
(former ZAPP volunteer)
(some discussion about ZAPP history, etc.)
Kathryn – ZAPP, community archive started by a group of impassioned zinesters. Housed it within another organizations – Hugo House. As both organizations grew, went different directions, eventually came to a head. … One of important differences between public/academic library and community archive, the way they’re born and how they’re powered. Generally, collection created by community can be more freewheeling, you can decide what goes in it, how it’s organized. As it grows, someone else takes over,
can go through many changes. If it remains independent, still volunteer-powered. Even if it gets subsumed by a bigger nonprofit, important for respect, to actively connect with the community. Physical protection of zines isn’t as important as access. … Even if you don’t have cultural conflicts – look at Papercut, had 1 month notice they had to move, took a year to find a new space.
Kelly – Lack of expertise, cataloging – people wanted to come and help but no one to teach them. Sometimes issues would come up and we needed more knowledge than we had.
Kathryn – Some people don’t understand the need for cataloging. (important to be consistent in cataloging)
Kelsey – How do you sustain? (organization falls apart, people stop using collection, etc.)
Kelly – If you leave them in a box, they can sit until people are ready to use it again. An archive in UK pointed out – if community stops caring about the archive, it doesn’t matter to the community anymore, it doesn’t have to continue.
Kathryn – ZAPP, never lack of passion. Has a space, pretty consistent, had paid staff member for long time. … institutional memory, write it down. If you have a group of committed volunteers, come up with a collection policy, get your cataloging standards written down, keep records. So if it does sit in a box for 2 years, when that passion in the community comes back, they don’t have to start from scratch.
Cathy – A lot of places start with a core group, driving force, keep all they know in their head. They get burned out and move on. Success depends on ability to pass that information along. Can conflict with radical politics of setting it up; why do we need a board, why do we need to have these rules? So many things can fall apart from exhaustion, because there’s not that passing on. Having a board, then it’s not all
on one person; if you drop the ball it doesn’t fall apart.
Kathryn – Something you see a lot, one person who holds all that knowledge in their head, but don’t share it with anyone else. That’s part of the reason they don’t write stuff down, they just do it all themselves. …
Kelly – Bottom line, what can professionals do to support community archives? Stay connected, know what’s going on in your community and be able to support that. Multnomah Library: where to find zines in the community. Offer tangible skills when you can. Recognizing when to back off… grass roots organization is different. If you’re not part of the collective, try not to be overbearing.
Kathryn – Community archives serve a different purpose, academic archive’s process may be counter to their goals. It’s a different experience, gives user different opportunities and ways to connect with the zine community.
Kelly – recent discussion of subject headings on the librarian group lately is good illustration of that.
ZineWiki intro – This is a 2-page cheatsheet to creating and editing entries on ZineWiki.
ZineWiki is an open-source encyclopedia devoted to zines and independent media, covering the history,
production, distribution, and culture of the small press.
A user name is required to make edits or create pages.
Articles should be encyclopedic in nature and written from a neutral point of view. Individuals can write or edit articles about themselves or their zines.
Articles should be factually accurate and verifiable. All quotations and content making claims or assertions or content likely to be challenged must be attributed to a published source. (Zines are considered an acceptable published source.)
Because many articles about zine publishers are about living people, please attempt to respect privacy.
o Only use names as they are presented within a publisher’s zine(s). Do not include a
person’s last name unless it has been published in a zine or other source.
o Avoid revealing the real name of someone who writes under a pseudonym unless that
information is common knowledge or published in another source.
o Pictures of zine publishers should be uploaded only with the zinester’s permission or be a press photo.
o Images of zine covers are encouraged; cover scans comply with fair use. However, if a zine publisher requests an image from a zine not be published on the site, administers will consider a request for removal.
o Please be sensitive to issues of gender. Zinesters include people who are transsexual and transgendered; don’t assume a person is male or female and avoid identifying gender unless a person has clearly identified as that gender.
Look at the Previously Featured Articles for ‘good’ examples of how a page should be formatted or what it should contain.
Creating a Page
The easiest method is to search for whatever term/phrase you’d like your new page to be titled. Ex:
o You want to add an entry for Zine Title ABC.
o Searching first ensures that there isn’t already an existing page for that zine. (If there is, feel free to make edits!)
o If there isn’t an existing page, click on the red link that says ‚create this page.‛
Add content – including appropriate wiki tags (see below) – and save!
The title of the article should appear as early as possible, preferably in the first sentence. The first time the article mentions the title, put it in bold (see below).
If you get stuck, click the Help link in the left navigation menu from any page.
See http://www.zinewiki.com/ZineWiki:Manual_of_Style for a sample article you can copy and paste as a starting point for creating a properly formatted article.
o ””’bold italic””’
o =Primary Sections= large text with horizontal line
o ==Subsections== smaller text than Primary Sections, also with horizontal line
o A Table of Contents box will be automatically created from these section headings when you use 4 or more headings.
o For an internal link (linking to a page within the wiki): [[Main Page]]
o For an internal named link: [[List_of_Distros|Distros]] – The text ‚Distros‛ will link to the
o External linking (linking to a page outside the wiki): use the URL, including the http://, if you want the URL to display: http://www.undergroundpress.org
o External named link: [http://www.undergroundpress.org Zine World] – The text ‚Zine
World‛ will link to the shown URL.
o For bullet lists, use * . Ex:
* First level list object
** Second level list object
*** Third level list object
o For numbered lists, use # . Ex:
# First level list object
## Second level list object
### Third level list object
o Mixed lists
* First level would be a bullet
*# Second level would be numbered.
*#* Third level would be a nested bullet.
Other formatting? See http://www.zinewiki.com/Help:Editing.
Adding tags to the bottom of pages will ensure the page is listed in appropriate categories, making
them easier to find. These are examples of tags commonly used on ZineWiki.
o For zinesters: [[Category:Zinester]]
o For zines: [[Category:Zine]] or [[Category:Review Zine]] or [[Category:Perzine]]
o To identify location: [[Cateogry:Portland Zinesters]] or [[Category: UK Zinesters]] or
o To identify timeframe: [[Category:2000’s publications]]
o To list it as a library holding: [[Category:West Coast Zine Collection]]
Including |zinename or |lastname after the category listing (before the closing brackets) is also helpful for organizing the category pages. Ex: [[Category:Distro|Microcosm]]
For a list of other categories, click the Special Pages link in the left navigation menu, then click Categories under List of Pages.
Questions? Suggestions? Comments?
Every page has an attached Discussion page. If you have a question or comment about a specific article, please add to that article’s Discussion page.
If you have a question about the site itself, you can add to the Main Page’s Discussion page. You can also leave a message for a specific contributor or editor by adding to that user name’s Discussion page.
Sign your comments: ~~~~ will add your user name, date, and time to the end of your comment.
Kelsey’s conference notes
Notes From the One Day Zine Librarian Mini Conference
August 30, 2010, North Portland Multnomah County Library
Session 1: Promoting Literacy Through Outreach
Kim Riot, Grrrl Zines a Go-Go collective & Cathy Camper, Multnomah County Library
Presentation description: Three Word Chant! Literacy, Creativity, and History! Kim Riot,
collective member of Grrrl Zines A-Go-Go, will talk about the last 7 years of zine activism through education and outreach. Kim will explore how GZAGG jointly worked together with youth and adults to make zines, not just something people talk about, but something people take away. Cathy Camper will discuss zines going to prison and school! Learn how to use zines to connect with at risk kids, or to reconnect students to their classroom studies. Cathy will talk about what worked, how to network with teachers, and share some zines kids made as well as zine making techniques they loved.
Stuff Cathy brings for zine workshop activities:
• plastic tub for outreach activities
• glue sticks
• pre-folded paper
• examples of zines
• template for one page mini zines
• blunt scissors
• scotch tape
• damaged library books for cutting up (the kids like this!)
Cathy allots at least two hours for the workshop & does an intro to zines that includes some tips on graphic art basics:
• cut & paste techniques
• tape lifting technique (using scotch tape to remove/distress portions of an image, can
also use the tape with the lifted toner to layer in your zine master)
• reproduction concepts (working on a master that can be duplicated)
• making sure to use dark lines in the master
One girl said “It changed the way I look at magazines.” She wrote a zine about her experience running away from home. Doing outreach to jails & detention centers- they are more strict on subject matter & imagery, more rules and restrictions. A lot of the kids in detention centers never got a chance to be kids & play, and the zine workshops provide them with that opportunity.
Kim provided a brief history of the Grrrl Zines a Go-Go collective:
• Started in 2002
• GZAGG focuses on young women to combat the influence of mass media
• They wrote the zines “Let’s DIY!” & “Let’s DIY 2” about how to do zine workshops
• Wrote Zine Capsule- zine about DIY archiving, preserving zines & why it’s important to
• Held a Scrap Lounge at an academic event- they projected the GZAGG manifesto on the wall so people could read it
• Have done zine workshops for women learning life skills and discussed how the women could empower themselves through creativity and writing
• Applied for some grants in San Diego in 2006, which forced them to hone in on their
position statement- Zines build strong culture in three ways:
• Engaging people in reading is only part of the path toward true literacy. It’s
equally important to engage them in writing. The skill involved in shaping a text, be it story or rant, engages literacy skills on a deeper level through active use. Reading and writing zines makes it clear that the power of literacy skills is tangible and doable.
• Visual literacy is also practiced in zine-making, as the message of imagery is wrestled with through collage, drawing, and juxtaposing image with text. Zine makers learn how powerful images can be to create an emotional response or to further the power of the written text.
• Zines are also a path toward cultural literacy. The depth and breadth of our culture is not adequately presented by mainstream media. Zines offer off-the-beaten path images and stories, and commentaries about society, making it clear that people should be creating their culture.
• Creating and not just consuming culture, writing, images, and ideas is
central to the power of zines. More and more of our activities are mediated
and shaped for us, rather than created by us. Making choices is central to
developing creative skills. In today’s culture it can feel like we have to
consciously separate ourselves from the mainstream in order to have real
choices, and zine culture provides a community of other do-it-yourself
experimenters to make contact with.
• Zines also provide a place to practice both individual and collaborative
creativity. The skills of each are unique, and our culture does not provide
adequate forums to really explore either. Collaboration is a skill that is
given short shrift in our hierarchical and competitive society. Zines are one
way to practice the give and take that collaboration entails, as you work
with others to create a collective expression.
• It’s frequently said that history is created by the winner. These days the
winner is corporate media, the government, and those with the money to
control others. It’s essential that the experiences of each person is valued,
that the culture they are part of is valued, that the importance of the small
stories of life are valued as all being essential to the recording of history.
Being a part of shaping history means including zines the archives of
libraries, and treating them as valuable resources for future generations
who want to learn from the past.
General Workshop Advice from Cathy, Kim, & Laural Winter (Laural does workshops with
Cathy for Multnomah County Library):
1. Don’t assume that your audience is going to know what a zine is
2. Teens- respect their space
3. Minimum 2 hours & more than one meeting if possible
4. Have examples
5. Have a broad subject or theme ready if the kids don’t know what to do (for schools, ask
the teachers what the kids are currently learning about before the workshop)
6. Talk about the aesthetic/artwork and show some easy techniques (no big blocks of text!)
7. Provide variety in clip art and imagery
8. Provide examples of how a zine can give kids a voice- give them a sense of community
9. Tell them where they can find zines
10. Tell them about distros
11. Consider including chapbooks and poetry in your workshops
12. “When you’re speaking to young adults, you might not realize how many of them that
13. Be there for the 20% of your audience that this workshop might spark something for
14. Show enthusiasm
15. Don’t be afraid to to vocalize your stance on things
16. Be personal when you’re talking to others- tell them about your experiences
17. Remember: you’re laying a foundation
Session 2: From the Ground: Using Zines for Emerging Stories
Lindsae Sindalu & Allynn Carpenter, Bird’s Nest Zine Library in Spokane
Presentation description: Zines are a new concept to many people in the inland, economically depressed city of Spokane. We’ll be talking about how we are promoting zine making and reading as a way for people to make their own stories known – whether those stories are relevant to entire communities or to one person’s struggle. We will discuss outreach methods, some of the stories that have been shared, and how we plan to affect community awareness and education.
• About Spokane:
• Largest US city between Seattle & Minneapolis
• One of the poorest cities in NW- 18% of population is below poverty level
• High percentage of people with disabilities
• Only 23% of population have higher education degrees
• About Bird’s Nest Zine Library (Lindsae presented this part):
• 3 months old
• Library hours- open thursdays & fridays 2-6
• Anybody can get a library card; requires a name, phone number, and email
address (if they have one)
• Mission statement: “Knowledge is Power”
• Goals: encouraging people in Spokane to share stories, have self knowledge, and
think about themselves within the context of their community
• Had their first free community zine workshop in July 2010
• Participated in Story Walk, where participants walked through downtown
Spokane and shared stories about local places. A zine was produced for the event,
and Bird’s Nest has a copy for checkout
• Don’t want to charge fees for anything- want to minimize bureaucracy
• Want to promote the idea of shared storytelling- verbal, zines, storytelling
workshops, story parties
• Plans to add a zinemaking station
• Lots of Spokane people don’t have good computer skills, don’t understand how to
do layout, etc; Bird’s Nest wants to help people learn these skills through
• About Allyn Carpenter, Bird’s Nest librarian
• Author of Kiss Kiss Push Push zine, where she writes about her experiences as a
punk anarchist and young mother
• Allyn has been making zines for as long as she can remember
• She likes to break down assumptions
• She pulls content for her zines from a cut & paste personal journal
• Allyn lived in Portland for a year and got inspired by the zine culture
• She moved back to Spokane, published her first serious zine and tried to sell it at
hip coffee shops, etc; nobody knew what a zine was.
• This provided her with a goal: to expand and introduce zine culture to Spokane
• Motivation: giving people in Spokane a voice
• A zine isn’t just any story, it can be your story
Session 3: Freestyle Moderated Discussion
Emily-Jane Dawson, Multnomah County librarian & member of the MCL zine task force
Presentation description: Emily-Jane will facilitate a discussion about how we handle various aspects of our work — finding and selecting zines, working within an institution/bureaucracy (for those of us who do!), creating professional development opportunities, recruiting and working with volunteers, practicing and evaluating outreach efforts, and so on. Come prepared with ideas about which topics you’d like to discuss!
Emily-Jane started by soliciting topics for discussion:
• Selecting & adding zines- criteria?
• Money- how can organizations that do have money help those that don’t? (the idea of
funneling donated zines to places that need them came up)
• Promoting awareness in communities that are not zine-centric
• Volunteers- processes, how to identify good recruits, what are appropriate tasks for
• Mutual aid- how can we all support each other?
Promoting awareness in communities that are not zine-centric:
• Kelly did a zine workshop for a science library, mostly students studying to be doctors,
personal zines about health issues are good to read and learn about people’s personal
health and how they manage their health issues, zines are an accessible tool for sharing health information. Kelly said she’d come up with a list of health related zines for us.
• Make flyers and literature in zine format, more accessible than lofty literature about
• Find people to help you with promotion- spread out the outreach efforts so you aren’t
the only one that’s promoting your collection. Ex: find someone that’s a prolific zinemaker and have them talk or give a workshop- they will do a lot of the promotion for you and bring their own audience because they want people to attend their program.
• Partnering with other local organizations- ex: Northern|the Olympia All Ages Project;
Rock & Roll Camp for Girls in Murfreesboro, Tn; Bird’s Nest had an extravaganzamusic,
bird themed food, etc.
• Even if you only get ten people attending your events, they might each tell another ten
people about the event and the word will slowly spread.
Selecting and Adding Zines:
Identifying sources for finding zines can vary depending on whether you have money/a budget, or you’re a donation driven organization.
• If you have money…
• depends on organizational practices (bureaucracy)
• might end up buying directly from distros because it’s easier that way, but you’re not getting those direct connections with the zinesters. You’ll miss out on a lot of zines. Ex: buying from Microcosm, lots of zinesters won’t sell through Microcosm, so you’re missing all of their voices in your collection.
• If you have to buy from distros, find distros that fit your collection development
policies and collection goals
• Try to buy at zine symposiums if you can
• Use review resources: Library Journal, Zine World, Best Zine Ever
• Buy from local stores and make connections with the store proprietors
• Ask for recommendations from stores and distros that you respect
• Be prepared to accept donations as well- people really love their libraries and want to share their zines with them, they also aren’t driven by profit and their motivation is to have people interact with their zines
• Let people know it might be a while to get added to the collection- the cataloging
takes some time
• Decide what to accept and reject for the needs of your community- ex: Gun
Culture Magazine, the Match (balancing personal feelings & community values
about the issue vs librarian ethics)
• Older zine donations- do they belong in a public library? Jerianne adds some of
them because she thinks they are representative of the history of zines. It depends on your library and what you think will be of interest to your community. Some zines have local history value and should maybe be added for that reason.
• Collect community feedback to share with your administration so that they can better understand zine culture- circ statistics, attendance at programs, when you pay for a zine program have the presenter write a letter about how the money sustained them, gather stories from people who check out zines & attend zine programs. Ex: MCL is focusing on making a difference during the current economy, hearing that the money given to zinesters when they present is essential- some of them are living hand to mouth. Money goes back into the community and is a valid expenditure. Ex: A woman who was 8 months pregnant walked a half hour in the rain to attend a zine event.
• If you don’t have money…
• If you’ve got a website, make sure you say that you want donations on there
• Participate in online communities & let them know that you want donations. Ex:
We Make Zines
• Make sure your library is listed on Zine World (in magazine and online), and
indicate that you accept donations there. Also, you can place free classifieds in
Zine World and indicate that you want donations.
• Solicit donations through zine librarians listserv on Yahoo- lots of people donate
zines on there
• Make a zine for your library to use for trades
• Note: ZAPP wants everything, they don’t turn any donations away. Donate to
• Make a selection policy if you intend to reject any donations, you can use it for
backup just in case (even if it’s just “we reserve the right to decide what we’re
adding to our collection.”)
• Have your outgoing volunteers train your incoming volunteers- adds some continuity,
particularly in community libraries & archives
• Volunteers come and go, if you document things and preserve institutional memory the
incoming people can take up the torch and have a sense of the history of the place
• ZAPP- when people leave, the line is broken
• Keep old everything- flyers, meeting agendas, etc.
• Archives often forget to keep an archive about themselves
Session 4: Zines and Community Archives/Libraries
Kelly McElroy, recently minted MLIS, former ZAPP volunteer & Portland Zine
Symposium Organizer & Kathryn Higgins- Brown University grad student & former
Presentation description: Community Archives are what they sound like: collections of
documents about a community and/or collected by a community. (See
http://www.communityarchives.org.uk/ for more information.) Community archives help a group collect its own documentary heritage and can build awareness of minority groups. Zines often accumulate into this sort of collection. We’ll discuss how institutions can support communities with these sorts of collections, using the Zine Archive and Publishing Project as a case study.
• Kelly’s experience started with a community archive in LA that collected
communist/social justice papers
• Kelly went to school to get her MLS with a focus in archival studies- her teachers had a different definition of archives that was more traditional. Ex: birth records, government
type records, etc.
• Kathryn’s experience started with ZAPP- Zine Archive & Publishing Project
• ZAPP and Hugo House had different visions and started parting ways
• Most community archive literature & research comes out of the U.K.
• Community archives loosely defined…
• Created by the community or some motivated individuals instead of one or two
people in an institutional setting
• More free wheeling!
• Almost always volunteer powered
• Focus on access as opposed to preservation
• Advice for success in community archives…
• There can be a lack of expertise, so figuring out ways for people to help is
• It’s important to have standards and guidelines if you’re working with the
community because everybody is going to have a different opinion about what’s
• Leave the materials in boxes for as long as it takes to deal with them
• If there is a lack of volunteers or community interest for a time, keep things
organized in storage until someone is inspired and wants to revitalize the project
• If the archive ceases to be valuable to the community, there’s no reason it needs
to continue existing
• Having at least one paid staff member is ideal
• Institutional memory- write stuff down, and keep an archive of your history!
When someone with passion returns to the project, the records will be available
• There can be value in having a board of directors or some group that helps to
share the load, because often one person is motivated on a project and then they
burn out, and the success of the archives depends on their ability to pass the fire
• The people who have the passion have to be willing to share the knowledge and
educate people to help them
• Important to connect with people that have expertise (ex: professional librarians
and archivists) to help with the sustainability of the organization
• Recognize when to back off- if you’re coming from an academic background, you
can’t apply your expectations to the grassroots organization who might have
Notes from sessions, taken by Kelly:
Promoting Literacy Through Outreach
Cathy Camper: outreach to youth, including incarcerated youth
– with Laurel at MCL, worked with poet Leanne Grabel at facility for incarcerated
– Tub: gluesticks, clipart, folded paper, examples of zines, tape dispensers, template for
making a 1 sheet zine, pens, scissors (can be a problem in prison – blunt ‘uns)
– usually do 2 hour sessions
– history of zines
– examples of graphic art – cut and paste with clipart, using scotch tape to pick up
images from newsprint
– talk about reproduction, distribution – some issues with these youth. Explain that
what they’re working on is a master. But talk about keeping a border, issues with
– bring damaged library books for kids to cut up
– gives youth an alternative way to look at media, esp. For kids who are used to
only seeing mass media magazines
– try to get teachers to include it in assignments
– new library priorities include: service to schools – adding zine workshops into that
– emphasis towards underprivileged, needy, at risk kids
– How to address concerns about literacy – hasn’t been an issue yet, but it could be
argued to meet curriculum guidelines.
Kim Riot – Riot Grrls a Go Go
– coming from feminist background, very academic, lots of theory
– recognize effects of mass media on women
– 2006 – applied for Social Change Grant in San Diego. Required focus on mission
statement: what is happening with the ideas that people learned in their zine
workshops? Recognize community
– Zines Build Strong Culture Three Ways
– Exhibits – e.g. At Mira Costa College in Oceanside – an academic setting, but a lot of
people came out from the community
– Desire to see permanence – people take the skill they’ve learned at the workshop and
take home. E.g. Working with LGBT youth group, planted the seed –> so workshops
went on without GZAGG!
– Lesson in collaboration/networking!
– See their zine on this
– Give people the tools!
Top fve pieces of advice for putting workshops together?
1. don’t assume your audience knows what a zine is, or that it has a community at all
2. Dealing with teenagers – teenagers are there to socialize, you have to respect that
and work with them in that context
3. Don’t be afraid to vocalize your opinions/stance on things
4. Don’t be afraid to ask for money! If you can get funding, DO IT.
5. Provide variety in clipart and images for people.
6. Don’t be overwhelmed by the amount of participants
7. Tell people where they can fnd zines in their town: libraries, distro process,
1. Minimum 2 hour slot, plus follow up if possible, even if it’s not with you
2. People often ask “what do I do?” so have some examples of perzines or zines on
topics. You can keep a backlist to help focus people.
3. Talk about the artwork! Sometimes if people work on computers, it’s all text…easy
techniques can make things look interesting.
4. Give them a sense of the potential to connect with other people – e.g. Dishwasher
Pete was on Letterman!
5. With young adults – you may not know the ones you touch. Give it yer all whether
your audience responds or not!
1. Teens may not show excitement at all. You have to work through it and show your
2. Prisons, some differences – can bring up deep stuff for folks. Helping people learn
that they have a voice that other people want to hear
3. Find the community builders!
– zine about collecting, zine permanence – cheap preservation (Zine Capsule)
From the Ground: Using Zines for Emerging Stories
Lindsae and Allynn, Bird’s Nest Zine Library, Spokane
Spokane! Largest city between Seattle and Minneapolis
18% below poverty rate
high rates of disability
about 23% of residents hold
largely white, but large Native American community, made up of different
Allyn tried earlier and didn’t have permanent space
Now has space in downtown Spokane, community radio station
– Lots of politic zines
– “Personal narratives” make up about 1/3 of collection
– No budget
– Anyone can stop in and get a library card and check out zines for three weeks at a time.
Open Thursdays and Fridays
– Started because A/L love zines, but have come to see that Spokane needs a zine
– Mission statement: Knowledge is power. Self-knowledge!
Allyn (author of Kiss Kiss Squish Squish)
– (on being a zinester in Spokane)
– her zine focuses on being an anarchist artist single mother
– frst made them in Spokane, couch-surfng, got encouragement from friends
– moved to PDX for a year, great zine culture
– moved back to Spokane, realized there was a need to raise awareness of zines in her
– zines she was giving out seemed to vanish and go out into the world…but has met
folks who were affected by her zine.
– Story Walk – took a group on a walking tour in downtown Spokane, shared local
history stories, personal and political
– zine library was a stop on the tour
– raising awareness of zines
– helping people share their stories/voices
– Spokane has a history of excluding some people from community organizations/life
– held a zine-making workshop recently, a lot of response, even from folks who couldn’t
make the workshop in person
– suggestion to charge a fee and then offer scholarships – refects issues in progressive
culture in Spokane. BN’s goal is to keep things FREE and low bureaucracy
– work with queer youth community center, Native American organizations
– Currently working on outreach, raising awareness. Also, shared storytelling: verbal,
written, acted, zine form or something else. Storytelling workshops, etc. Also,
soliciting donations, mostly from individuals. Also, adding zinemaking station in the
– A lot of community doesn’t have computers, don’t have access to that. Blogs may not
be relevant to them. But the physicality of a zine can be really important.
(Laural’s family zine, a recipe collection)
Jerianne: (report back from PZS session she and Kelsey did)
– issues with digitizing zines
– appropriateness of getting a zine from a third party when the creator doesn’t want
it in the library
– people v. interested in a zine librarian code of ethics, in terms of collections,
EJ: fnding and selecting, working within an institution/bureaucracy, professional
development, working with volunteers, outreach efforts
Lindsae: adding zines to a collection (selection), criteria
KM: money! How organizations that do have it can work with those that don’t
Jerianne: Promoting in community if you don’t live in Portland, out where people don’t
necessarily know what zines are
Kelsey: volunteers (processes, how to select people, what tasks are/aren’t
Laural: Funnelling donations (e.g. From MCL to other libraries)
Kelsey: how we can all support each other – how can libraries like IPRC, ZAPP, Bird’s Nest can work with libraries
EJ: has come up, seems to be central to the mission of Bird’s Nest. This can also be lessons
we can apply other places. Even in PDX, lots of people don’t know what zines are.
KM: workshop at a science library
Laural: Was a medical librarian – people want a pahmplet, something digestable
EJ: We’re talking about how zines can get sneaked into what we’re already doing. A lot of
people want something easy to read. With medical zines, there are a lot of personal stories
(e.g. My experience with Crohn’s Disease)
Jerianne: Tried to make connections for people who miiiiight be interested. But as
programming has cut back, circulation has, too. How do you make it a ongoing, selfsustaining
CC: One thing to do is connect with the hardchargers – spread it out so it’s not just you,
then they can carry the torch. (e.g. A zinester who cranks ’em out.) As Arab-American,
interested in zines by people of color – connected with someone here in Portland who does
workshops about that. Concerns by people of color – if you do a zine does it have to be
about being Arab, Black, etc? Or can you just make a zine about whatever?
EJ: best ways to do programming (according to public libraries) – connect with other
community organizations. Does that work? Are there stories?
Kelsey: just started working with the all-ages club in Oly (Northern), doing programs. First
was Microcosm Tour, which she had at the club instead of at the library. Second was 24-hour
zine thing program. Did it there because it couldn’t be 24 hours at the Library – could, at
Northern, because they’re not bound by the same rules as the library.
Nicki: also at that event, had local music – people came for the band, stayed for the event
Kelsey: get stats up!
EJ: that’s valid! The overlap can be really valuable.
Jerianne: partnership with the rock and roll camp for girls – had an event at the library,
showing a flm, etc. Hardly had to do any work about it!
Lindsae: opening extravaganza, with bird-themed food
Selection and criteria
Jerianne: Identifying sources. Makes a difference if you’ve got funding for buying zines, vs. If
you’re seeking donations. If you’ve got money, institutional processes – invoices, etc.
Libraries with those bureaucratic rules, the easy way out is to buy from distros. You’re not
getting the direct connection with zinesters! And then, you’re gonna miss out on some
zines. But, distros can help you fnd specifc kinds of zines. Also, there are review tools (zines
and websites) even if they aren’t Library Journal standards. Also, donations: if you’ve got a
website, make sure that you state you want donations for your library. Be involved in online
communities (e.g. We Make Zines) – some people will say they want to donate to libraries, so
get on top of it! Make sure you’re on Zine World! You can also put a free classifed in Zine
World saying that you’re looking for donations.
EJ: important to remember, either way – you’ve got to be brassy, tell people about your
library and say that you want to make it work. People who work in libraries can be shy…but
you’ve got to be ready to ask for donations, or ask people to go through the hoops of
bureaucracy. People creating zines are not in it to be on NYT bestseller’s list or to make big
bucks. People want people to interact with their zines. If you say “I want this in my library!”
they want it in their library, too. At MCL, lots of zines in PDX. Both PZS and Stumptown
Comics fest – these are easy ways for them to buy from, and they buy from stores in PDX
that sell zines. This allows chance to make connections with local businesses, ask staff for
their recommendations, etc.
CC: Buying from PZS, SC, stores, collection is tighter, circ is higher. May want to have a
collection policy, just to justify why you haven’t accepted something. Some people just want
to challenge libraries, so if you have a policy from the start, you have something to fall back
EJ: helps avoid community drama. MCL has a collection policy specifcally for zines, but a
bit loosey goosey.
Kelsey: TRL also does, and did before even launching the collection. Started with a list of
subjects we thought would be relevant to the community. This helps in case donations don’t
ft. Also have a caveat in collection development policy, that if we don’t accept it, think about
donating to these other libraries. Other thing with donations, people are so eager, they want
to know when it is in the catalog! It may take 3 or 4 months before you get it in the
catalog…so tell ’em.
EJ: MCL will look at donation and won’t tell ya if they’ll take it. They only take things they have multiple copies of. Mostly, haven’t had trouble with explaining process.
CC: Something else to think about is intellectual freedom. Public libraries are dedicated to refecting multiple perspectives, but selection policy can help you determine if there are subjects you don’t want to include (e.g. Something about gun culture)
Kelsey: has been trying to fnd more conservative zines, e.g. The Match
EJ/CC: American Gun Culture Report (looks more like a magazine)
Christopher: wouldn’t say it’s terribly conservative – it’s about being fairly progressive, but still supporting gun rights, in a way that mainstream gun magazines do
Jerianne: sign up on the Yahoo list!!! libraries will say if they have zines to donate/swap
CC: question about donations – older zines, are they worth donating?
Jerianne: Defnitely for an archival space, but even from public library, older zines can show the history of zines. There can be a place for it.
Kathryn: ZAPP wants it!
EJ: IPRC also has old stuff. Collection policy can be really open. May be special interest in
particular topics or regional.
Kelly: Collection policy can help in volunter-run organizations
Kathryn: Institutional memory is key at community archives. Keep your old agendas!
EJ: archives even forget to keep their own archives
Kathryn: same problems come up again and again!
Kelsey: made changes in original document, have lots those changes.
Kelsey: Our library doesn’t want us to solicit donations. I can take donations, but they don’t want me to tell people about it. I struggle with it. I got someone in a position of power on board, but she’s head of collections, and didn’t want to diminish collection by it being donation-based.
CC: why do they say that?
Kelsey: they want the library to look reputable
Laural: they don’t want vanity press, print-on-demand
EJ: also, don’t want a food of unsolicited donations, can create a backlog for selection, catalog, etc.
CC: as much as you can, fnd out the real reasons…and see if you can get them a statement that will make ’em less fearful.
EJ: sounds like it’s fear-based, so reaction may refect that
Jerianne: be specifc about the kinds of zines you’re looking for. Narrowing the focus down.
CC: statistics of attendance, comments from people bolster what the community is saying, to pitch to
Kathryn: coming from an archive that collects everything – important to do that, but
circulating library can’t do that!
Kelsey: they may not understand the culture, that giving away stuff and trading is part of zine cultures
EJ: we have gone to managers with comments from individuals; also, talk about the culture with managers who oversee what you do. So, meeting with tech services, they brought a bunch of zines for people to look at and get excited about. It made them more comfortable with working
CC: pay people to speak, buy stuff from local folks. So, they’ve asked for statements about how it sustains them, putting money into the community.
EJ: had to show that 75 bucks could sustain someone.