Tag Archives: Zines

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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Copenhagen’s DIY Libraries

Demoteket Public Library Project

Demoteket, an underground zine and arts library, has sprung up locations within public libraries around Copenhagen.

Demoteket may be the most freeform concept I’ve seen in public libraries. Public submissions to the collection range from artwork, films, music recordings, software, to knitted lobsters(?!), or just about anything else you’d like to reach an audience. Even the Demoteket library’s shelves are designed and built by local DIYers. Here’s why I love this idea. First, it provides a new place for artists to distribute their work. Second, the contributions and users come from the same geographic community. Last, the system cuts out big publishers. Read more about Demoteket and see examples of submissions here.


I heard about Demoteket at this year’s NY Art Book Fair when I asked the TTC Zine Gallery, an arts collective and indie publisher from Denmark, about the zine scene in Copenhagen. TTC has its eye on the international zine community. Their book, Zine Soup, compiles some of these publications into one hefty volume. Each is handmade with individually silk screened covers so each copy is slightly different.

TCC Gallery Zine Soup

P.S. Summer coverage of International Zine Month.

Images found on  dr.dk,  Bureau Detours and Graphic Dirt

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