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Starting a zine library without an existing library

Hi all!

I was wondering if people knew of any resources for collectives wanting to start their own zine libraries independent of existing libraries.

My university lacks any real space for zines and DIY culture and what I'd like to do is amass a collection of zines, reserve a table in my university's student union near a section with a bunch of chairs where student hang out and read, and make the zines available to pick up and read between classes then ask for them to be returned.

I'd probably have a donation box out asking for people to donate their own zines or drop some change in so we could buy more zines and replace missing copies.

Any thoughts?

Are there any distros that do deals where if you order a bunch they'll give you some free?

Is there a directory of distros by topics they carry somewhere?

The plan is to have the library focus more on mental health, feminist, alternative political philosophy, DIY, queer, health, and sex positive zines. 

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Hi Ophelia,

I hope you'll join the Zine Librarians email list. We have people on there from all types of libraries. Most of us founded our zine library, so you should be able to get some good ideas about starting yours. We're having a free un/conference in Pittsburgh July 27-28.

Jenna

I'm a community college dropout so I know nothing about universities and their policies, but I guess your plan sounds okay to me.

 

My dream is to start some kind of alternative library/media/misfit social center, but the daunting part is finding an affordable storefront/housing for it.  I'd want it to be much broader and more inclusive than the leftist political focus you envision.  I'd want many obscure, opposing, controversial philosophies, not just "zines" in the narrower sense, but books, amateur journals, magazines, records, tapes, CDs, DVD's, VHS video.  Things that aren't "cool" anymore, or never were. Things public libraries would find "unacceptable" or "irrelevant" to the "community".  I wrote some submissions explaining it to a local Spokane zine called Get the F*** of That Couch (their asterisks, BTW) ,  but haven't heard from them in a while so haven't seen the latest.  (They seem to be college age, so they may've been too busy to get an issue out.)

 

I also wouldn't want this place to be age or subculture oriented.  It'd be a hangout place for all "misfits" and "marginals" of all ages, philosophies, personalities, etc.

 

At this point, I pretty much despair of actually finding or affording a brick & mortar library/center, or there being enough interest in my vision, so I'm trying to get together some sort of local lending circle, and may try basing it both via snail mail and Facebook.  (I'm not tech savvy, so the latter may be problematical.)

 

Good luck with your plan.  Let us know how it works out.

 

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