by Mariah Ralston Deragon, Litchfield library assistant
What is a zine? We’ve been getting this question a lot lately at the library! The short answer is that “zine” is short for “magazine”. That means a zine can potentially cover a very wide range of topics and genres.
This summer, the Litchfield Library has started making zines with kids ages 12-18. We call it our “Teen Zine”. So far the zine has included pencil sketches, comic strips, short stories, doodles, and collaborative writing. I discovered the idea for zine making at the library after attending the Twin Cities Zine Fest in Minneapolis last summer. The Rochester Public Library was tabling there with some teens that had started a zine group at their library.
After the Zine fest, I started doing some research using MnLink at the library. I discovered that zines are considered to be a form of self-publishing. Self-published pamphlets and newsletters can be traced all the way back to Benjamin Franklin’s Poor Richard’s Almanac, which was started in 1757. (From “Make a Zine!” by Bill Brent)
This popular “Almanack” was full of word-play, calendars, weather forecasts, poetry, puzzles…you name it.
Jumping to present times, self-published books and zines can be found at many bookstores world-wide, and in countless variations. Regarding zines in particular, I found this quote from Stolen Sharpie Revolution by Alex Wrekk to be helpful…
“A zine is an independently created publication. The contents are anything you want them to be like; personal experiences and stories…music related writing, gardening tips, travel stories, comics, photography... Zines can be put together by one person or a group of people and they are usually photocopied.”
After our teens finish their writing, drawing, sketching, etc., we make photo copies of their work in black and white, using our trusty copy machine, and then we staple it all together using a saddle stitch stapler.
We will be making zines at the library on the 3rd and 4th Monday for the rest of the summer!
Teens ages 12-18 are welcome to join us on July 24, August 21st, and August 28th from 3:30-4:30 p.m.
And it’s okay if you still don’t understand what a zine is… Come on down to the library; we would love to show you!