The University of Lincoln Library has a great new Zine collection housed on the ground floor of the main Library. Zines are a fantastic resource for many staff and students across the whole University community. They will be of interest not only to art and design related subjects but also those in social, political and humanities subject disciplines and potentially those outside of the institution.
The word ‘zine’ comes from the word ‘fanzine’ so emerged originally from the 1930s as fans of science fiction produced these ‘fanzines’. These non-traditional publications are self-published (written/edited, illustrated, copied, assembled, and distributed); they are motivated by desire for communication or self-expression (not profit, fame, or a grade). They have their roots in social and political activism e.g. punk, LGBTQ+ etc. and are usually a small publication which tend to be produced from materials to hand by individuals, photocopied and distributed cheaply. Zines have a small distribution (5-3000 copies) and are underground or alternative in content or flavour; they are free of paid advertising. They are a popular medium in the art and design world, but they are also produced for all sorts of reasons – music zines, travel zines, literary zines. The modern zine bears little resemblance to its cousin ‘fanzine’.
The Library is working to diversify materials and challenge white-centred, heteronormative practices which impact our collections, users, and services. The University of Lincoln is committed to long term goals around decolonisation and equality, diversity, and inclusion (EDI) projects and the Library is central to this work. An intersectional approach considers the many parts of a person’s identity, and the aim of the zine collection will be to be more representative of marginalised voices. It would be great to get staff and student input into the collection either with existing zine donations or student projects around EDI and decolonisation.
Why are they important?
- They provide an alternative point of view – something is said by someone who wants to express it.
- Producing a zine allows individual expression – no editorial board – simply a direct link to an individual’s opinion or artistic expression.
- Zines provide an insight into today’s modern popular culture – a direct and unfiltered view of an individual’s interpretation at the time.
- Historically important – letters were a principal form of communication but in our digital world, a lot of this type of history is disappearing. If we do not preserve zines, historians will have to write about our era from secondary sources.
Do you want to make a zine and donate it to the Library collection? Would you like to find out more about zines? Do you know about a zine that you think we should have in the Library? To find out more, look at the School of Design Library Subject Guide https://guides.library.lincoln.ac.uk/design/zines which includes a form where students and staff are invited to ‘suggest a zine’ for the collection. You can also contact Subject Librarian, Oonagh Monaghan (email@example.com).
You can also look at the articles in the School of Design INK magazine INK Magazine. Issue one: Spring 2022 by Holmes, Jantze, editor, Tullett, Barrie, 1964- (lincoln.ac.uk)