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So who's familiar with running a zine library?

I'm dying to know about how you do it/did it.

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Actually, I've been thinking of asking the same question for a while.

I've wanted for a long time to start some kind of alternative library or reading room, modeled somewhat after the kind the Christian Scientists do. Just a little storefront hole in the wall, if that'd be all I could afford.

In Spokane I see a lot of vacant old storefronts. I wonder how much rent would be for them for a month or year? I remember I used to see them advertised from under $200, but I think that was decades ago. Could they still be that cheap?

It'd be nice if I could get some people together to share staffing time and rent, but I doubt I could. Also, it'd be another project I probably shouldn't even think about taking on, but....

I saw in Zine World there's a collection in one of the community buildings, only open about 4 hours a day, on Sunday and another day. I'm going to try to check that out. I appreciate what they're doing, but I'd want my library not just for zines, but books, videos, what-have-you, and I'd want it to be diverse, and carry lots of "forbidden" and unusual material, not just of one ideology.

Problem with that though, where should I draw the line? Not only would I suspect many zinesters object my "laissez faire" inclusion, but I could get a lot of resistance from "the community", and even the cops. Frankly, even *I* might be uncomfortable with some things. Maybe I would have to "self-censor" just to get started and keep it open, not to mention self-respect.

By the way, I wouldn't be out to shock or offend people for its own sake. I'd just want the type of material you can't find in most of the libraries, some of which are just considered too boring or passe by most people.

Ah, maybe some day.
Kind of the same two things I was thinking about.
Material: I'd want to stick largely to zines, but also opportunities for other DIY media. And I know what ou mean about the "transgressive" materials. I live in a fairly uptight part of the country, but I would want to include it because people ought to at least have a choice to see it. Maybe put the less kid friendly stuff on the top shelves. (but which? and how high? {Morality, the saying goes, is like art. You have to draw a line somewhere})

And space? Would you be cool with going to a zine library in someone's apartment? back yard? Otherwise it's squatting or the real-estate game. Both have their cons, I guess.

I dunno, If you promise to think really seriously about doing it, I will.
Thanks for replying.

James N. Dawson said:
Actually, I've been thinking of asking the same question for a while.

I've wanted for a long time to start some kind of alternative library or reading room, modeled somewhat after the kind the Christian Scientists do. Just a little storefront hole in the wall, if that'd be all I could afford.

In Spokane I see a lot of vacant old storefronts. I wonder how much rent would be for them for a month or year? I remember I used to see them advertised from under $200, but I think that was decades ago. Could they still be that cheap?

It'd be nice if I could get some people together to share staffing time and rent, but I doubt I could. Also, it'd be another project I probably shouldn't even think about taking on, but....

I saw in Zine World there's a collection in one of the community buildings, only open about 4 hours a day, on Sunday and another day. I'm going to try to check that out. I appreciate what they're doing, but I'd want my library not just for zines, but books, videos, what-have-you, and I'd want it to be diverse, and carry lots of "forbidden" and unusual material, not just of one ideology.

Problem with that though, where should I draw the line? Not only would I suspect many zinesters object my "laissez faire" inclusion, but I could get a lot of resistance from "the community", and even the cops. Frankly, even *I* might be uncomfortable with some things. Maybe I would have to "self-censor" just to get started and keep it open, not to mention self-respect.

By the way, I wouldn't be out to shock or offend people for its own sake. I'd just want the type of material you can't find in most of the libraries, some of which are just considered too boring or passe by most people.

Ah, maybe some day.
I started a zine library at my college. There was a school committee in charge of giving funds to student activities and projects, so I wrote a nice proposal and got them to give me a few hundred dollars. Then I recruited some more kids to help me pick zines to stock. I ordered a rack and a lot of zines, and posted in the donations group on WMZ to let people know we'd take their zine donations. The school library agreed to let me put the zine rack there and worked with me to find a nice spot.

This might also help: http://www.amazon.com/Zine-Building-Winning-Collection-Library/dp/0...
Thanks!

Dan C said:
I started a zine library at my college. There was a school committee in charge of giving funds to student activities and projects, so I wrote a nice proposal and got them to give me a few hundred dollars. Then I recruited some more kids to help me pick zines to stock. I ordered a rack and a lot of zines, and posted in the donations group on WMZ to let people know we'd take their zine donations. The school library agreed to let me put the zine rack there and worked with me to find a nice spot.

This might also help: http://www.amazon.com/Zine-Building-Winning-Collection-Library/dp/0...
Hi Lauris,

There's a zine librarians group on WMZ http://wemakezines.ning.com/group/zinelibrarians and also on Yahoo http://groups.yahoo.com/group/zinelibrarians. You're welcome to join both groups and talk zine librarianship with people who run all sorts of zine libraries.

Jenna, zine librarian at Barnard College
Thanks!


Jenna Freedman said:
Hi Lauris,

There's a zine librarians group on WMZ http://wemakezines.ning.com/group/zinelibrarians and also on Yahoo http://groups.yahoo.com/group/zinelibrarians. You're welcome to join both groups and talk zine librarianship with people who run all sorts of zine libraries.

Jenna, zine librarian at Barnard College
here's a synopsis on how i started the Las Vegas zine library in July of 2010. :)

If others have done it so can you!

-Assess your community! Is there already a zine library? Can you combine your resources with someone else? Do you live in a place where it seems like no one knows what a zine is? Be ready to dish out the knowledge you have with people regarding zines all the time! You are becoming a zine ambassador of sorts! Workshops are great ways to educate and get people involved.
-Look online and find out where zine libraries are being promoted and posted....a little research goes a long way
-contact zine related websites and ESPECIALLY other Zine libraries!!!! I Can't tell you how helpful these people are in answering questions and telling their stories! It's great! It's a welcoming supportive bunch from my phone calls, and email correspondence (not to mention quick!).
-decide what you're going to carry. there are specialized zine libraries and general archives.
-LVZL started with what i already had, about 40 poetry chap books and 20 zines I'd acquired over time(small is good at first! It grew quicker than I ever thought it would, so don;t fret over the size of the collection)
-make a list of possible places interested...cafes, galleries, public library...(or you could rent space, but i think it's more important to get support from your community first before you start paying rent somewhere!)
-I got in touch with owner of a new coffeehouse/gallery downtown, gave them the rundown of what a zine library (and a zine) is. They had some unused space they were willing to donate (knowing where you fit in in an already occupied space is good).
-i figured out how the space would be used and through a series of emails and finally face to face meetings (insert sketches here) that explained the layout to the owner, I was given the go ahead.
-I went ahead and spent a hundred dollars on an order from microcosm, to fill out the collection a bit. I got a DIY pack they offered and a random pack as well. I tried to get a good mix of stuff. A hundred dollars added about 70 more zines.
-How will you store the zines? i decided to put all the zines in the polyvinyl bags with cardboard backings (found at comic shop. They have 'magazine size' which helped with larger zines)
-Decide on things such as: will people be able to check zines out? what kind of labeling will be best? What kind of signage/decoration will be best.....you get the idea. (the look is not as important as getting the zines up, the look will transform over time and fall into place. I mention this because I found myself obsessing over details which i had to let go to get the library up and running.)
-I went into excell and catalouged what i had by name publisher and genre.
-put the zines on the shelf!
-set up a free blog(www.lvzinelibrary.blogspot.com) & set up an email account
-started promoting with fliers and web contacts.
-put out a 'drop box' so people can leave their work (and they will). The Po Box is great to have for mail (and it will come).....it just grows from there!

since July the library has expanded from that initial 60 zines to 400+ !
DIY!!!! In the flesh!!!
Please contact me (JEFF) with any questions at lvzinelibrary@gmx.com
hope this helped!

-LVZL
Very helpful post Jeff, thenks!

Both helpful AND encouraging! I've been wanting to turn my little personal zine collection into a library and it's nice to hear that there is hope for a library beginning with less than one hundred items. Hooray!

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