Tag Archives: Barnard Zine Library

Defying Meanies and the Status Quo

Elvis Zine Illustration

“Do you make zines?” I heard this asked a lot at the Feminist Zine Fest. I think it captures the inclusiveness of the community that convened in Barnard Hall Saturday, March 1st. Barnard zine librarian Jenna Freedman secured the space for the event, previously held at The Commons in Brooklyn. About 40 tablers in all lined the room, their tabletops covered with not only zines but lollipops, QR code tablecloths, pom-poms, pins, patches, garland, rocks, and stuffed animals. DJ Troy Frost, herself a zinester, artist and self-described “feminist supastar” provided the soundtrack.

There were zines covering topics of race, sexuality, identity, personal histories and family histories. If you were looking for a yoga themed zine, or a zine about unhelpful cats, there was a table that had it! Natsumi, a recent graduate of The School of Oriental and African Studies, grabbed a zine about Nigeria.

For those who really want to get deep in zine culture, libraries like the ones at Barnard College and the Papercut Zine Library in Cambridge, MA house thousands of zines. I chatted with Mitch from Papercut Zine Library who told me libraries play an important role in giving a home to zines and preserving the narratives of marginalized people. Zines are primary resources of people’s lives, many of whom are underrepresented in mainstream publishing. Zine libraries help to fill that void.

Some zines that caught my eye were not concerned with telling personal stories. Elvis Bakaitis, an organizer, displayed a series called Homos in Herstory (and drew the cool illustration above). Another zinester had compiled all of her favorite quotes from books she’s read since the 10th grade. A few tables over Nicole, a social studies teacher at the Calhoun School displayed some zines made by teens of various ages at the school. On the Zinefest blog Nicole talked about the process of making zines with the young women, “We had to negotiate what to include, how to represent ourselves and contributors, how to deal with conflict. So, zine making was a really important feminist praxis for me.”

Walking around the room, I wanted to read all the zines and celebrate their uniqueness. For the rest of the day I was very proud to wear a pin that read, in script letters, “don’t be mean, make a zine!”

(Artwork: Elvis Bakaitis)

Making Pins at Zine Fest

Barnard Zine Club

dj troy frost feminist zine fest

Tables at Fest

(Photos: Library Manifesto)

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In case you just woke up from a month long nap: International Zine Month

International Zine Library Day Barnard

July was International Zine Month (IZM.) The zine community cut and pasted their way through the month (including a heat wave for East Coasters) growing awareness for zines and camaraderie for zine makers. To me zines are fun, personal, and often have a sense of humor, and I appreciate the personal touch reflected through the hand assembled components of each booklet.

Jenna Freedman of the Barnard Zine Library (BZL) celebrated International Zine Library Day July 31st with crafts and commemorative buttons. Jenna defines a zine as publication having these five characteristics:

1. Self-published and the publisher doesn’t answer to anyone

2. Small, self-distributed print run

3. Motivated by desire to express oneself rather than to make money

4. Outside the mainstream

5. Low budget

I had always taken a supporter from afar approach to zines, so I used International Zine Month as an opportunity to read more about the history of the zine and even had the chance to contribute to Booklyn Artists Alliance’s (BAA) 24-hr Zine Spree. People dropped in to create a collaborative 24-page zine and the amazing staff at BAA provided the supplies, pizza, and cookies. What could be more conducive to creative zine making?

Zine Spree Library Manifesto

Natalie zine spree

If you missed some of July’s zine festivities, here are links to get you started on zine reading, collecting, and/or making. If you were really into zine month, you can pick up right where you left off.

How to make a one-page zine

Goings on at the Zine Librarian Unconference in Iowa City July 13 – 14 #iczluc

One minute Zine Reviews

July 31st was HallowZINE, pay tribute to self-publishers who’ve past

A list of select Zine Libraries around the country and world

A zine history

Photo of me and Maya by Matt. (I’m on the left.)

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