July is International Zine Month, and July 21 is International Zine Library Day. As explained by ZineWiki, a Zine (derived from magazine) is “an independently- or self-published booklet, often created by a single person.” With this broad term, we can see zines going as far back in time to Revolutionary War pamphleteers like Thomas Paine with his Common Sense and John Dickinson who penned Letters from a Farmer in Pennsylvania, but the modern zines took off more with the wider distribution of magazines in the20th century, and became a way of sharing fan love, especially, but not specifically, of music performers.
During the 1990s, networks of zine publishers started to emerge, and since then many libraries have been curating zine collections. Having a zine collection in your library is a great way to bring local flavor to your collection as well as new voices. Some libraries allow their zines to circulate, while others find it best to have them as in-house reference, much like mainstream magazines. Whichever way a library chooses to circulates, allowing teen readers access to zines is a new chance at meaningful reader’s advisory opportunities and sparks for teen creativity.
Here are just a few resources that can help with starting and/or maintaining a library zine collection:
Julie Bartel’s From A to Zine is a valuable resource for thinking about zine collections, and especially how to market them to teens in the library or through programming and outreach.
Zine Library is also a wealth of information. The have information on shelving options, categories, and you can access the Zine Librarians Code of Ethics. A couple of other online resources are the Barnard Zine Library, especially for a listing of zine libraries, and the portal Book of Zines. Many of these site have links to where zines can be purchased, as does The Stolen Sharpie Revolution.
Here are just a handful of recent zines that have strong teen appeal:
A fanzine at its best – growing up in the 1990’s, Yumi Sakugawa, a second-generation Japanese American, didn’t see herself represented in pop culture. But there was Claudia Kishi, the talented, confident, fashionista of Ann M. Martin’s book series, The Baby-sitters Club.
Falling Rock National Park by Josh Shalek
This black and white comic is set in a fictional National Park in the American southwest. Ernesto the lizard, Ranger Dee, and various other animal characters head into the Uncanny Valley, where everything gets weird.