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

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