Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Zine libraries 2014

It's International Zine Month and yesterday was Zine Library day so I've decided to update my list of UK Zine libraries which I compiled last year.

Zine libraries and archives are amazing. They make huge collections of zines available and accessible and totally searchable to the general public. You can reach audiences you might not otherwise if you are a zinester and only circulate your zines at zine shows and through distros. Your zine can be preserved and looked after and made accessible to people outside of zine communities. They can be indexed and compiled in bibliographies and used as examples of various subcultures and politics and writing. 

Some zine libraries belong to bigger institutions with libraries which have useful things such as online public catalogues, preservation equipment to look after your zine in the right way, and staff that can catalogue and index your work and make them accessible. And other zine libraries are more grassroots and run in social centres by people who love zines and are part of the community. There is no 'real' zine library, they are all valuable collections, but if you are thinking of sending your zines to libraries, select a handful of different types.

I previously set up the zine library at Stuart Hall library with my colleague Sonia, and I'm currently in the process of setting up a new zine collection in my current library. As a librarian there are some things which definitely make my job easier when cataloguing zines. And here is the golden rule:

If you are writing a zine then adding a clearly identifiable title, name/pseudonymn, and date somewhere in the zine is an awesome thing to do!

You don't *have* to do this, it's your zine and not all zinesters want their zines in zine libraries. You may want to have no name attached, you might enjoy making untitled zine works,or want to keep your pages un-numbered o that the reader can choose which order they read. But these few details really help a librarian out and can help make your zines more accessible to others in zine library collections.  

It's totally ok to write a zine anonymously as well, but I've had zinesters emailing me asking why their name doesn't appear on the online catalogue for the zine they have written and I've had to explain it's because there was no name attached to the zine! Also adding dates to zines is just super useful for your own knowledge. I was looking through all my old zines the other day and about half don't have any dates on and I have no idea when I made them.

Thinking of donating your zines to UK zine libraries? Here is a handy list of places you might want to send them:

Scope: Has specialist collections of counterculture zines, women’s zines, riot grrrl zines,music zines, football zines, alternative comics. Items are held within Special Collections and are available on request.

Online catalogue: Most zines have been catalogued and you can search for zines here  There are also finding lists available for some uncatalogued zines and comics here  

Donations policy: Contact andy.simons@bl.uk to donate your zine

Access: Zines are available to BL readers upon request. Contact andy.simons:bl.uk for more info. Opening hours and registration details here 

Scope: The Women’s Library zine collection aims to collect and preserve women's zines from the 1970s to present day.

Online Catalogue: All zines are catalogued and can be searched here 

Donations policy: To discuss donating your zine to the collection please email library.enquiries@lse.ac.uk 

Access:The Women's Library is open Mon-Fri 10:30am-5pm. Visitors are advised to book an appointment 2 days in advance. You can book an appointment, reserve material, and register by emailing library.enquiries@lse.ac.uk or calling 020 7955 7229.

Scope: The Stuart Hall Library began its zine collection in 2010 and is continuing to collect zines. The library collects zines relating to cultural diversity,race, ethnicity, gender, and sexuality, as well as personal/political/arts based zines. 

Online Catalogue: All zines are catalogued and be searched here 

Donations policy: The library welcomes donations, please contact library@iniva.org to discuss donating your zine

Access: You will need to register as a library member to access the material. The library is open Tues- Fri 10am – 1pm 2pm – 5pm. Please contact the library to make an appointment library@iniva.org

Scope: The LCC part of the University of Arts has a growing collection of zines spanning art zines as well as music/personal/political zines, covering art, music, photography, politics and personal stories.

Online catalogue: Items are added to the general library catalogue here

Donations policy: The library welcomes donations. Please contact l.kassir@lcc.arts.ac.uk

Access: To arrange access please contact l.kassir@lcc.arts.ac.uk

Scope: The library collects all zines donated to the collections ranging from art zines to personal zines to music zines etc

Online catalogue: No online catalogue available but the zine library has a blog promoting all new zine donations here 

Donations policy: Salford Zine Library wants your zines!  The library is non profit and welcomes donations  contact salfordzinelibrary@gmail.com or send your work directly to Salford Zine Library, 40 Jutland House, 15 Jutland Street,Manchester,M1 2BE 

Access: The library is open daily to the public and is based at Nexus Art Cafe on Dale Street, Manchester.

Scope: The zine library collects political, feminist, queer, activist zines as well as perzines and punk zines.

Online catalogue: No online catalogue

Donations policy: The library welcomes donations, please contact info@56a.org.uk

Access: 56a is a volunteer run social Centre and is open to the public. The centre is open Weds 3 – 7pm, Thurs 2-8pm, Fri 3 – 7pm, Sat 2 – 6pm.

Scope: Zineopolis focuses on zines heavy with visual content aka art zines, but also has zines wider in scope.

Online catalogue of zines: No online catalogue but each zine in the collection is briefly listed plus description and images here

Donations policy: To donate your zine please contact Jackie.batey@port.ac.uk The library welcomes donations that are visual based art zines.

Access: To access the collection please contact jackie.batey@port.ac.uk

Scope: Feminist, perzines, music, punk, political, comics included in the collection. The collection dates from the early 90s to present day.

Online catalogue: You can search the GWL archive here Although many materials are currently uncatalogued and readers are advised to email for more information info@womenslibrary.org.uk

Donations policy: Zine donations are welcome, please contact info@womenslibrary.org.uk

Access: The library is open Mon-Fri 10am – 4:30pm while access to the archive is limited due to refurbishment. To arrange access and request specific zines please contact info@womenslibrary.org.uk

Scope: The library is a lending library with materials relating to libertarian, ecological, and feminist books, pamphlets, and zines.

Online catalogue: The online catalogue of zines is currently in progress. You can check the progress of this here  (Gotta say though, I’m pretty damned impressed at their progess so far in creating a free easy to use catalogue considering it’s not got the weight of a larger educational institution behind it)

Donations policy: The library welcomes donations, you can contact cowleylibrary@gmail.com for more infor

Access: The library is open Weds, Thurs, Fri 12 – 6pm and Thursday evenings 7 – 9pm

Monday, 14 July 2014


This Saturday I attended London Film and Comic Con for 2 big reasons, Gail Simone, and the first ever UK YA Lit Con because loving things is awesome.

YALC is the first UK YA  Lit Con organised by Booktrust and curated by Malorie Blackman with amazing YA authors and creators in attendance such as Rainbow Rowell, Patrick Ness, and Emma Vicelli and Malorie Frikkin Blackman. With its own deciated area of the film and comic convention, YALC provided a super fun + super posi+ super welcoming space for YA fans of all ages to meet authors, listen to panel discussions, attend workshops,buy books, swap books, and read books for free in a reading zone with cushions and beanbags. LFCC was chaos this year, even more so than usual due to the number of crowds that Stan Lee managed to attract on his last ever UK visit, and so YALC was a great place to get away from the swarms and interact with other YA fans and creators.

Have a sit down and read a book. Sounds like my kinda party.
It was a great mix of YA fans in attendance specifically to meet their favourite authors and talk about the books they love so much, as well as passing comic con attendees in cosplay wanting to see what was going on. Usually at LFCC the book zone is completely dead, but YALC completely brought it to life and it was brilliant to see so many people of all ages passionate about reading YA. The publishing table with promo material for upcoming YA titles were giving away free books on the hour to the first people at their stalls and seeing a crowd of mostly young girls running up to the table excitedly for a free book made my heart burst. So posi it hurts.

Swap yr books!

I love YA and other than comics it's my other big reading love. I always felt embarassed to admit that I lost my passion for reading grown up books quite a few years ago. I read them slowly and out of duty and they don't grab me the way that comics and YA do and I was so excited to be around so many other people that were that passionate about YA. Librarians, parents, teachers adults that love reading, kids, teenagers, punks, and random Deadpool cosplayers who wanted to see what all the fuss was about, everyone was having an awesome time!

Malorie Blackman is the curator and director of the first ever UK YA Lit Con and is also the goddamn children's laureate, and it was awesome to see her kicking things off with a geektastic speech in klingon. The panels were a great chance for attendees to hear their favourite creators discuss things like the growth of dystopian YA, the challenges of adapting shakespeare for YA graphic novels, and the way that fandom can shape YA authors. The talks were completely packed out and those waiting in line for photographs for some of the convention's film and tv guests nearby also stood listening to the panels and came back to check out other aspects of the YALC area.

Tatty Devine Faingirl necklace to promote Rainbow's upcoming UK tour

I'm a huge Rainbow Rowell fangirl (OHMYGOD DO YOU SEE WHAT I DID THERE!) and was so happy to have her on stage talking unashamedly about her love of Harry Potter and the way that she wrote X-Men fanfiction when she was younger in which all the blue X-Men fell in love with her. Her YA books Eleanor and Park, and Fangirl are INCREDIBLE. I haven't been moved by a book like Eleanor and Park in forever and I was super star struck at the thought of getting to meet Rainbow herself. The queue for Rainbow was bananas and looped round right into the main centre of the general film and comic con prompting a lot of people not attending YALC to ask us what on earth where we queuing for. 

Faced with two sprained ankles and just a 2 hour window, Rainbow made sure she saw everyone that had taken the time to queue to meet her. I chatted with her briefly about her upcoming collaboration with comic artist Faith Erin Hicks who I love like woah, and it was nice to her Rainbow be equally as geeky and as excited about Faith's work.

Rainbow Rowell being a superhero with ice-packs on her ankles

I thought I had missed my opportunity to meet Malorie Blackman due to spending all that time in the Rainbow Rowell queue but Malorie was just wandering around chatting with people and I got to meet her very briefly. She's incredible. Have I mentioned that? Incredible.

Next I skipped the film and tv part of the con and as much as I love gawping at everyone's cosplay, I couldn't move and couldn't breathe, it was the busiest I have EVER seen LFCC and I just wanted to find the comic creators to geek out there. All the comic creators were in a separate building where Stan Lee was also based. While the queue for him was bananas, the rest of the comic zone due to poor signage and complete segregation from the rest of the con was completely dead. I felt so bad that there were such awesome comics people siting in a half empty hall. The indie creators were further segregated, and in one section there was very little or no lighting. I know that Martin from Spandex comics was so frustrated with his experience at LFCC that he packed up his table and left halfway through the first day which is so disheartening to hear. With comics as part of its title, it's sad to think that LFCC hadn't included the comics zone into the rest of the main action as much as they could have done. While meanwhile outside, thousands of people struggled to get into the main hall as the con reached full capacity super quick. It's just such a shame that attendees weren't directed to the comics zone and that it felt like such a separate event.

That said, I was too excited for words. No not for Stan Lee, but for Gail Simone. I have missed nearly every single UK apperance she has made, as her other cons have always clashed with work commitments or other things and I've always been so gutted that I've never gotten to meet her. Gail Simone is one of those comic writers who got me into comics in a big way. She is a feminist hero, she wrote one of the first mainstream trans characters in a DC comic, she gives a shit about inclusivity and diversity, they aren't just buzzwords to her, she gets the importance of representation, and she loves comics just as much as the fans do.

Meeting her was a pretty big deal and I talked with her about how sad I am that she is leaving the Batgirl title and we both talked about our fears about what would happen to Alysia (the trans character who she introduced into the Batgirl series) now that Batgirl would have a new creative team and direction. We talked about how stinky Red Sonia is, how Dynamite are publishing some really great things, and how Gail was also writing a brand new title featuring a trans* superhero. It was amazing and yeah I'm not ashamed, I may have gotten a bit teary eyed.

Gail Frikkin Simone

Due to Operation: Sort Life Out, I was unable to attend the 2nd day of LFCC to hear Gail speak in a spotlight panel at the con, but the internet tells me that some pretty SECRET things were hinted at, like the possibility of Gail writing a new Secret Six series which makes me very happy indeed.

I love loving things, ok, and I when I love things I love them hard. I am a total fangirl. I get passionate and over excitable and obsessive and I give a shit about fiction and popular culture and art, and it's wonderful.

I so hope that YALC returns with another event in the future. While hosting it at LFCC meant there was such a crossover of attendees, hopefully in future there can be a larger more dedicated space as there are so many people who would love to come who maybe didn't want to attend a comic con. Everyone who helped organise YALC or helped out on the day were incredibly friendly and so enthusiastic and it was a real highlight of LFCC. Judging by Saturday, it was a super success and I have so many new books I need to read RIGHT NOW! 

Also I'm just really really looking forward to Thought Bubble later this year and being at a convention that is completely focused on comics, where creators aren't sidelined and segregated away from Game of Thrones actors. Because while I like looking at GoT actors I want comic creators to be the main attraction and things like Thought Bubble and Comic Art Festival and DICE and others are the absolute best for that. 

Thursday, 10 July 2014

International Zine Month 2014

It's July! It's International Zine Month!

I've had a lot of LIFE STUFF happen recently and I'm in the middle of burnout so damned hard. So I'm not setting myself any particular goals for IZM this year because if I feel like sitting around watching episodes of Supernatural in my pants then I'm bloody well going to! My head and body need a rest. I've been ill and I've jumped from project to project while dealing with LIFE STUFF and it's just drained me. Remember that zine I wrote about burnout? Yeah well I didn't listen to my own advice it seems.

BUT there is a zine I REALLY want to do this summer. It's a little mini zine called Liferuiners, it's going to be a mini comic and it's going to be a silly little thing. I wont say more than that. Maybe I'll do it for the 24hour zine challenge, or maybe I will take my own sweet time with it. Who knows!

I've started drawing bits of it recently and despite the fact that I'm only drawing stick figures, I've recently learned that beards are hard to draw. And the last thing my burnout needs is a complete and utter breakdown caused my inability to draw beards for a silly mini comic.

So for now my only contribution to IZM is that all my zines in my zine shop are half price for the remainder of the month. You can get them from my zine shop here

And I'll be posting more this month about zine libraries and why they are awesome and updating my mega resource list of zine libraries that I compiled from last year. Happy International Zine Month!