Zine-a-paloosa was a jovial and inspiring panel about the joys and frustrations in building zine collections in public libraries. The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh has had a teen-specific zine collection for about three years running (about 400 zines with a small and slowly-growing catalog of circulating zines on LibraryThing) that’s had its own share of joys and frustrations, so I was really interested in what they had to say.

Julie Bartel and Brooke Young talked about the Salt Lake City Public Library’s zine collection. Miriam DesHarnais and Julie Wilde Harrison gave an impassioned and practical look at the Baltimore County Public Library’s zine collection. Jennifer May and Emily-Jane Dawson also chatted about how, in the wake of the terrific efforts of the afore-mentioned zine librarians, the fledgling Multnomah County Library zine collection is faring.

While a lot of the information is covered on their respective sites, and a lot of the speakers referenced Julie’s own From A-to-Zine: Building a Winning Zine Collection in Your Library, they did touch on a lot of topics that can easily influence our own efforts to connect teens and zines.

  • Make it a general, all-ages collection. Teens will be more interested in your zine collection if it’s primarily a general, all-ages collection. This might seem counter-intuitive, but the experiences of our panelists has been that they couldn’t get a teen to look at a zine until they took it out of their teen area.
  • Consider all-ages zine readings. Teen zinesters will probably be more interested in engaging a greater community of zinesters that isn’t age-defined.
  • Outreach, outreach, outreach! Can’t think of an idea for what to do with a group of teens? Make zines (check out the library links above for zine-making pathfinders)! No matter how young, once they hold a zine in their hands, most young people will just “get it.”
  • Push it. Like outreach, do what you can to put a zine in any teen’s hands that you think might be interested. Educate yourself so that you can make zines part of your general reader’s advisory repertoire with the teens.

Thanks for the many laughs and moments of inspiration, everyone!

About Joseph Wilk

I'm a teen library assistant with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh's Main location. Here, I'm the graphic novel and music librarian in addition to running anime, music, LGBTQ, incarcerated youth, and video programming. I'm happy to serve YALSA as a blogger, member of the Teen Tech Week committee, and as chair of the Music Interest Group. Otherwise, you can find me in da club.

One Thought on “Zine-a-paloosa 2007! Or, Zines in Public Libraries, A Panel

  1. Thanks so much for coming and for your (kind) post about the program! I totally want to talk to you more about the circulation stuff we were chatting about after the session. Feel free to e-mail me at bcplzines@gmail.com if you want. Hope the rest of your conference was fun!

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