If you’ve ever paid a visit to the Wyndham Robertson Library on the Hollins University campus, you may have noticed the white board next to the circulation desk. In the days leading up to fall break, members of the Hollins community were invited to indicate whether or not they’d like the library to aquire a zine collection – and of so, which zines they’d like to see in the collection. Hollins University Librarian and Social Sciences Liaison Librarian Luke Vilelle kindly agreed to answer some questions about the future of a zine collection in the Wyndham Robertson Library via Email.
SE Strasbaugh: How would you describe a zine to someone who doesn't know what a zine is?
Luke Vilelle: That's a really good question, because zines can be a lot of things to a lot of different people. I referred to our Encyclopedia of Social Movement Media to try to figure out the best way to describe them, and it suggests that the most distinguishing feature of a zine is that it is usually written, edited and published by a single person. The term "zine" was coined in the 1980s, and is a truncation of fanzine, which was a shortened version of fan magazine. However, zines have moved far beyond their original roots, and now can encompass any topic of interest to a writer. You might still have a zine that focuses on a particular cultural text, but many, if not most, zine authors now write from their own personal lives and experiences. Zines are usually published infrequently and have a limited circulation, and do not get published for long. A great place to go to learn more about zines is the Barnard College Library site for its zine collection. All that being said, however, the best thing to do to understand zines is to look at examples -- which hopefully we'll have in the library sometime in the not-so-distant future!
SES: Can you tell me a bit about why the Wyndham Robertson Library decided to consider obtaining a zine collection now, and where you are in the exploratory process?
LV: We're always on the lookout for resources or services we could add that would benefit the Hollins community, and help us fulfill our mission to enrich the intellectual life of the university. I believe the idea of adding zines initially came through a suggestion made to our Suggestion Box. Anybody can make a suggestion to this box, located on the first floor near the elevator and across from the circulation desk, and we seriously consider and respond to every suggestion we receive. Given HU students' interest in alternative forms of media, and the large number of writers on campus interested in self-expression, we thought the zine suggestion was worth pursuing. We took the idea to our Library Student Advisory Committee and got their feedback, as well as asking for student input on our white board by the library entrance.
SES: Given the nature of zines, I would imagine obtaining them - especially older ones - may be difficult. Can you explain how acquiring zines for the Wyndham Robertson Library might be different from acquiring books or other library materials?
LV: Yes, obtaining zines will certainly be a bit different for us! We can't get them through our subscription agent, which is how we get most of our magazines and periodicals. At this point, we do not have any plans to try to acquire older, historical zines. We are only focused on providing a sampling of current zines. We are still considering the best way to do this, whether we want to subscribe to individual titles or whether we want to obtain a sampling of zines through a zine distributor.
SES: Can you suggest a book or two about zines that is currently in the library collection?
LD: Sure, suggesting books is one of our favorite things to do! Here are a couple possibilities from our collection:
- Girl zines : making media, doing feminism, by Alison Piepmeier: (and also available online in our e-book collection here)
- Fanzines : the DIY revolution, by Teal Triggs
SES: Thanks again for agreeing to answer the above questions!
Would you like to see zines in Hollins University's Wyndham Robertson Library? If so, which zines in particular would you like to see?