A zine (pronounced zeen) is a small-circulation, self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images. Usually hand-made using found materials and simple supplies, zines can be about any topic and take various shapes and sizes. They can include comics, visual art, poetry, short stories, memoirs, fandoms, and nonfiction guides. This open-endedness can make them hard to describe, but allows for endless possibilities in the true spirit of DIY ("Do It Yourself"). Your zine can be whatever you want it to be!
Because zine making empowers the creator, they are an accessible and powerful means of distributing experiences, ideas, and identities that are a gap in mainstream publishing, especially those of marginalized communities. They share narratives that may be more difficult to find on your neighborhood library shelves and build communities out of makers and appreciators who swap and distribute their creations. If you’re curious to see what resources related to Zines and Zine Culture we have here at the Free Library, check out some of the materials we have available in our online catalog.
On the last Thursday of every month, the South Philadelphia Library and Whitman Library will alternate in hosting a DIY Zine Workshop where patrons can explore zines and have the space and materials to create their own. The libraries have been working with Philly Typewriter’s Public Program and the Philadelphia Museum of Art’s Library, who have both provided inspiring and unique collaging materials and tools. Our continuing intention is to create a community space where teens and adults will feel inspired by the works of others and are encouraged to create zines of their own.
The first workshop began with quick introductions and a brief overview on some basic folding techniques. From there, we were grateful that two participants offered their finished works to be made available in our digital library. We we look forward to watching this collection grow as the workshop continues.
Be sure to check out upcoming Zine programming going on throughout the Free Library system:
May 30 | DIY Zine Workshop at Whitman Library | 4:00 p.m.
June 1 | Playable Zines: Workshop & Game Jam at Lucien E. Blackwell West Philadelphia Regional Library | 1:00 p.m.