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I work with an organization called Youth Empowerment through Arts and Humanities (YEAH), and we're about to get our very own facility in the form of a coffeehouse space. As soon as the place is usable I will be starting a zine team that will make a collective zine, eventually run its own distro, and maintain a small collection of zines in the space for customers to read. I'll be donating much of my own zine collection to start out, with the hope that it will work out better than the last coffeehouse zine library I tried to start (I have no idea where those zines are now).

Anyway, I need ideas for creative ways to store and display those zines. They will probably share a shelf with donated books, and I'd like them to be separated from the other reading material. Preferably this would involve cardboard. I could make a standard magazine holder out of a box (or use one of the many plastic magazine holders I have), but that idea just doesn't do anything for me.

I'm at a loss. How would/do you attract attention to a small collection of zines under these conditions? Help me, We Make Zines--you're my only hope.

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One thing you need to consider is if you're hoping to store & display the zines in a format that will protect them for long-term use, or whether you're more interested in the short term. For example, it's easy to make magazine holders using cereal boxes, but that's a bad idea if you're wanting long-term preservation (because of the acid content). It's really nice if you can display zines face out (or at least some of them), because the covers are so interesting. Another challenge is how to deal with mini-zines so they don't get lost among the half-size and full-size zines. Have you been to the Firebrand in Nashville to see how they are doing theirs? (I haven't yet.)

I think I have a small display rack I can loan to you guys. Let me check my storage building.
What happened to your old zine library?

I keep having this creepy problem where everytime I agree to donate my zine library to a space, teh people try to steal the zines/library because they think its trendy. i spend the whole time trying to reaffirm that its my zine library. its weird.
Thanks guys!

Zacery, the hanging-zines-from-the-ceiling idea is awesome, but the space will also function as an art gallery so I don't want to block the walls, or make the zines themselves too inaccessible. I would love to see something like that implemented in an infoshop type space.

Jerianne, I definitely want to protect the zines as much as possible for long-term use. I would love to have some on display, maybe a rotating selection picked by the teens who will be in the zine team I'll run there. I've been looking at racks and plastic file organizers and the like, which are ridiculously overpriced. I just need to keep haunting the thrift stores until I find a decent alternative.

womans monthly, my old zine library went the way of yours. I had a couple dozen zines in a standard magazine holder on a shelf in a tiny coffeehouse, and every time I stopped by another one would be missing. At one point I checked the rack and there was a Star Wars comic book in it. WTF? Eventually I stopped going to the coffeehouse for other reasons, and when I asked a friend to pick up the zines for me a few weeks ago, she reported that they were gone, along with the magazine holder. The place also lost the microphone I loaned them for shows, so I know better than to ever trust them again, and I'm suitably skittish about doing the same thing with the new space, even though it will be a significantly different situation.

What I'm thinking right now is that I have a few zines out on a rack for display, and I'll put the rest of the collection in a binder in page protectors. Maybe I'll label them and keep a list of everything too; I just want to make it as evident as possible that the zines belong to the space and are to be replaced in their little plastic pockets. Most of the zines I'm donating this time around are duplicates of what I already have, or I'm otherwise not too emotionally attached to them, so I think that will be the best way to go.

Thanks again for the ideas!
there's a cute little bar/coffee house/performance space in jerusalem called uganda which has some zines, books, records/cds etc. they use the shelves / edges around the edge of the wall above the chairs. so people come in for a drink and read something from the wall. (records/cds down the back & behind the counter). I thought this was pretty cool as it's easy for people to browse through them without having to ask people for them. and it's not complicated - ie you don't feel like you're going to break the display if you take one down to have a look
a couple of photos here if u want to see : http://tinyurl.com/qhr3z9
You could hang them on string like a washing line effect - with pegs.
Although it doesn't seem very exciting, I think that the cardboard display rack for the zines is a great idea. I think that the main idea to keep in mind is that the zines should be displayed. Zines are supposed to be enticing, and they should be displayed so that they are easily accessed. People will want to look at the zines if their display is simple, and not intimidating. Just make them visible and available! Good luck, this sounds like a great idea! -emma

I just thought I'd post these photos of an independent press exhibit I visited last year in Brighton - I know you said the hanging from ceiling was impractical, but I thought the pics might be inspiring somehow! The rest of exhibit was mainly shelves, a few glass cases with holes for hands to open pages through gloves, and tables mainly with zines attached by string to the shelves/tables - although that didn't seem to stop a few going missing either unfortunately :/ This particular layout also acted as a window display as the room in the photos faced out onto the street.

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