Visit your friendly local zine archive!
January 19, 2008 3:07 PM   Subscribe

Housing, preserving, and providing access to these small-scale, homemade rags that document some corner of [often do-it-yourself and punk rock] culture, zine archives can be found via independently operated centers in Georgia (physical library in construction), New Orleans (myspace link, www address out-of-commission), Florida, Minneapolis, Denver, Cambridge, Olympia, Chicago, Seattle and...

University libraries' collections in New Orleans, Wisconsin, Chicago, NYC, San Diego, San Diego again, Durham;

Public libraries in Maryland, Oregon, San Francisco, Tennessee.

also online*.

You can submit work (pdf) to some of these, and there's even a book about building a zine collection in your repository!

*via Prelinger Library (also collects zines) Blog, and previously.
posted by ethel (21 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite
There's a zine library at McMurdo, in Antarctica, as well, or at least there was a few years ago.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:13 PM on January 19, 2008

Another in Montreal, Qu├ębec.
posted by ethel at 3:20 PM on January 19, 2008

And another in Portland, Oregon (with a searchable database of 5000+).
posted by lisa g at 3:40 PM on January 19, 2008

Oh my god, I would kill to get my hands on some old issues of Der Moderne Times, Denver's main music 'zine in the mid-'80s. I seem to recall a lot of heated debates over the merits of Skinny Puppy.
posted by scody at 3:42 PM on January 19, 2008

Great post!

I've been reading Dishwasher (the book written by Dishwasher Pete) all week on the bus and it's made me miss reading 'zines (although, strangely, it hasn't made me miss being a dishwasher).
posted by sleepy pete at 3:58 PM on January 19, 2008

Yay! The founder of the Chicago Underground Library is a good friend of mine. She's actually interested in more than only zines; she also collects books from local presses and even one-off things that people donate. The only restriction really is that it's from the Chicago area.

Also, it's good to know the New Orleans one is still in operation. I stopped by a few years ago when I was there, and it was a great place.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 4:21 PM on January 19, 2008

Aw, the Newcomb zine archive!

I believe I'm in the collection. I definitely know I donated my copies of Action Girl Comics to it.

Unfortunately, I can't access their search function, so I can't see if they have the few I worked on in there. Which is a shame.

Although maybe it's for the best. I've been strangely nostalgic for my university days recently as it is -- if I find information about my old zine days, then it's a downward spiral there.
posted by Katemonkey at 4:56 PM on January 19, 2008

Katemonkey, I know exactly how you feel. Every time I go to Quimby's, I walk out convinced I have to make a new zine RIGHT THIS SECOND.

Except I am old and live in the suburbs. So not so much.
posted by sugarfish at 6:53 PM on January 19, 2008

We started one in Norman, OKlahoma too, but alas, like all good intentions, it has crumbled a bit and our once fabulous "library" of about 3,000 zines alphabetized and arranged, has turned into a pile of boxes in someone's mom's house.

posted by mimikachu at 7:07 PM on January 19, 2008

the salt lake city public library has 6,000 zines.
posted by jessssse at 8:10 PM on January 19, 2008

Personal project, completed a few years ago: the entire run of Tussin Up, online.
posted by mwhybark at 8:40 PM on January 19, 2008

The death of Punk Planet zine last year made me interminably sad. I wish someone would scan in the older PP issues into PDF, just for posterity's sake.

I have about 50 issues of PP, and would do it myself, if I had even the foggiest clue as to how to do it without scanning it in one page at a time.
posted by melorama at 9:37 PM on January 19, 2008

Funny how something so vibrant 10 years ago seems so...quaint.
posted by DonnieSticks at 10:30 PM on January 19, 2008

From the People's Republic of Cambridge one: "The Papercut Zine Library is run by a non-hierarchical collective of volunteers, and all decisions are made by consensus."
posted by pracowity at 12:19 AM on January 20, 2008

melorama: I could have sworn I saw something online archiving PP's issues, but I think I mistook it for something else. There are a few issues described here though. And yeah, I think it's a one page a time deal. Maybe contact those guys and get a grant???

donniesticks: It's interesting, I guess I see it totally differently, as quaint is definitely not the word I would use. I find these archives totally inspiring (maybe because of my occupation) because they are these small things/paper/text that spoke so forthrightly and powerfully for me (and still do). This kind of paper history is something totally there, and because so much of it is preserved, sustained in libraries/archives, it is very much alive. To me, these seem like precursors to blogs when publishing wasn't so "easy" (ok, ok, I know not all web publishing is easy) and you had to really believe in / live the life of the something you wanted to put on paper, find a friend with a photocopy machine, letterpress, etc. And, no backing from a business or anything else. Truly about community and ingenuity..

thanks to everyone for your input (my first post on the blue, eeks) (I am definitely checking out Dishwasher)!
posted by ethel at 1:27 AM on January 20, 2008

Here is a corrected link to the Bingham Center Zine Collection at Duke University (listed in the FPP as "Durham"). A close friend of mine started this collection. If you have zines produced by women, this collection is a good place to donate as it is part of the Sallie Bingham Center for Women's History and Culture at Duke. They also have good collections of feminist papers (the papers of Kate Millet, for instance).
posted by 3.2.3 at 8:48 AM on January 20, 2008

The Queer Zine Archive Project is off-line this month to move to a new hosting service and revamp the back end, here is what they do:

"The mission of the Queer Zine Archive Project (QZAP) is to establish a "living history" archive of past and present queer zines and to encourage current and emerging zine publishers to continue to create. In curating such a unique aspect of culture, we value a collectivist approach that respects the diversity of experiences that fall under the heading "queer."

The primary function of QZAP is to provide a free on-line searchable database of the collection with links allowing users to download electronic copies of zines. By providing access to the historical canon of queer zines we hope to make them more accessible to diverse communities and reach wider audiences."
posted by kuppajava at 10:11 AM on January 20, 2008

The Visible Ink space in Fortitude Valley in Brisbane has a great zine library too. When I was in uni in Malaysia, I had dreamt of starting a zine library there (possibly squatting in one of the undecorated rooms of the new uni "commercial" building) but never got round to it.
posted by divabat at 10:30 AM on January 20, 2008

Melorama: I know the CUL has a huge collection of Punk Planets. They were donated by the magazine, but I'm not sure how complete the collection is. If you're really interested, send me a mefimail and I can find out for you.

Weirdly, the Chicago Underground Library has a lot of people who donate things and DON'T want them scanned, even though the library is willing to do all the work (yup, page by page) and conform to any copyright restrictions the author dreams up. I know they'd love to have at least the majority of the collection online at some point so people could access it from anywhere.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 12:27 PM on January 20, 2008 [1 favorite]

I found another in Edmonton, Alberta, the Edmonton Small Press Association. Again, it doesn't collect only zines, but other small press publications as well. These guys have an amazing catalog.

And another in Toronto, the Toronto Zine Library.

Thanks for the link fix, 3.2.3!

and wow, I am the opposite of articulate (and apparently also super-pretentious) at 1 in the morning. scratch that last one!
posted by ethel at 1:30 PM on January 20, 2008

the aboveground zine library got moved into the space at the Iron Rail radical library.

Some of us who work on the collection also have work on the Common Ground Athens library, in Athens, GA. This collection maintains a small zine section as well.
posted by eustatic at 8:56 AM on January 21, 2008

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