A Very Zine Frenzy

Photo by Maxwell Reide.
Photo by Maxwell Reide.
Photo by Maxwell Reide.

Short, independent and creative zines are a growing trend and have made it to the Sojourner Truth Library.

Zines were first introduced to the SUNY New Paltz campus through Madeline Veitch, the zine librarian, after the College Writing Board held a lecture and workshop on the new trend last semester.

The events, led by Jenna Friedman, the zine librarian at Barnard College and ‘zinester’ Jacinta Bunnell, a local artist and author, focused on what zines were and why they mattered.

After these events, Veitch worked with the Zine Collective, a student organization,  to incorporate a zine collection in the campus library.

“I wanted it to be a community where folks are engaged in not just thinking about the library as a place where they come to read books but to come to share things they produced,” Veitch said. “We often come to libraries to get stuff but we can bring things to the library.”

While there is no specific definition for zines, Barnard Zine Library described them as being “self-published, self-distributed, motivated to express oneself and low budget.”

There is no exact date when zines came about, but it was around the 1970s when the word was widely used. There have even been zines that became published books.

However, Veitch said she wants to spread the world that the zine community is active.

“When you go to Zine Fests, events for zine authors to share their work, you meet tons of people,” she said.

Zines are not limited and can be about anything, according to Veitch. They can be the length of a few pages to a hundred.  They can also be a singular work or part of a series. There are political zines and even “do-it-yourself” zines. Some zines also take the form of comics or graphic novels.

“I think what I love about zines is that I read them for so many different reasons,” she said. “I read how-to guides to learn new things. I read them for pleasure. I read them because I want to be engaged with political issues that matter to me.”

Lizbeth Guzman, a first-year undeclared student, became more familiar with zines through the library programs.

“I didn’t know about zines before coming to New Paltz, but reading a few of the zines offered in the library made me grow to like them,” Guzman said. “Many of them are short and talk about something that can be complicated and talk about it in a more entertaining way.”

While zines cannot be checked out of the library, students are able to read them in the library. Veitch said she encourages students to make a zine themselves and bring it to the library.

“All you need is a photocopier and an idea,” she said.

There will be a Zine Reading on Oct. 28 at the Blackbox Theatre at 7 p.m., where students can read their zines and share their work with others.