18th Annual Women's Studies Conference at Southern Connecticut State University
Zines are self-published, but the motivation behind their publication is different than that driving many vanity press and chapbook authors. The principles of punk rock and riot grrrl community are fundamental to zines, not just as the cultures that birthed them in their current incarnation, but also as what separates them from other self-publications. By collecting and preserving zines, the non-music primary sources of punk rock, librarians are documenting these movements in the participants’ own voices—the voices of those too young, too politically radical, too crusty, and/or too bad mannered to appeal to the corporate media. It is important to note that zine producers are not only people who have been relegated to the margins but also people who have chosen to claim the margins. In contrast to most writers, many zine producers might choose to reject an offer from corporate publishing house. Why let someone else control what you can say, when you can do it yourself? This presentation will address the politics and cultural motivations of zine publication and contrast them with other types of self-publication. Focusing specifically on materials from Barnard College’s open-stack zine collection that uses riot grrrl and other third wave feminist zines to enhance its research-oriented Women’s Studies book collection, this paper will go on to explore why zines belong in established library collections.