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December 6, 2013

Zines in The Special Collections Section

This past term my art professor gave us the assignment of making a “zine.” I had heard of zines before, but I had no idea how easy it was to put one of my own together. I illustrated several based off of a poem in a decidedly cartoon-y style, Xeroxed them at Kinko’s, and gave them to friends. The satisfaction of giving someone a real, tangible, thing was immediate and personal. I was hooked, and nearly every piece of paper that I could get my hands on after that I turned into a zine. I wanted to know more about zines, and zine culture so I did some research on the library database. I realized that a lot of the results for zines were in Special Collections; so I made my way up the marble staircase into the Special Collection’s Paulson Reading Room and asked to see their zine collection. I was given a large white box filled with zines each with its own voice and energy. Themes ranged from punk rock, to science fiction, to prison abolition. Feminists, anarchists, comic artists, and a whole range of radical intellectuals wrote and illustrated these zines. I was so happy to see that these zines were recognized as something that deserved to be among other scholarly articles. The ideas that these zines project go largely under-represented, and the fact that the library sees these other ideals as other equally viable perspectives is really important. Zines are made to have your voice heard by the public, and the library makes Zine artists’ voices heard by putting them out for public display.

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