Wednesday, May 23, 2007


How it got started:
December, 2007 was a busy month for me. I graduated, packed up my life and moved to Nashville to start my new job at the Watkins College of Art and Design as their Assistant Librarian.

After just four months on the job, budget time rolled around. I knew this was my only chance for the fiscal year to get an alternative media budget together. So,I wrote a letter to my Dean and Library Director introducing the idea of a zine collection, citing other academic libraries with zine collections, particularly noting that Pratt, a reputable art and design college, has such a collection. I also gave a small intro into zines, their history, and benefits for libraries.

I was told that my zine idea was "interesting" and given the green light to make a proposal. I had a weekend to pull it together.

I found the most helpful resources in drafting said document on the Barnard Library Zine Collection pages developed by Zine Librarian Jenna Freedman. I was most grateful to have access to these online resources available under the creative commons: attribution share alike 2.5 license.

Zinebrarianship: d.i.y. library zine collections
Hand out by Jenna Freedman which includes "Elements to include in a proposal for a zine (or other special/alternative materials) collection at your library" Boston Zine Fair, March 2006.

How to Start A Zine Library in Ten Easy Steps
I also found the Baltimore Public Librarian Miriam DesHarnais's guide, to be of great help in formulating a plan and vision for starting a zine library collection.

Sample Zine Collection Proposal
Written by Jenna Freedman, Coordinator of Reference Services, Barnard College, 2003

The following is a tweaked introductory proposal that I submitted to our Library Director and Dean March, 2007.

Watkins College of Art & Design Library (WCAD)

Zine Collection Proposal:
March, 2007

What are Zines?
Zines pronounced like “magazines” are self published magazines or journals, created by someone with something to say and distributed for non-profit. Many Zine authors are artists who express themselves through Zines of various formats and content. Some Zines display high production values such as color plates or glossy pages, others are simply black and white pages stapled together.

A zine acquisitions project could help The Watkins Library towards achieving our 2007/2008 institutional objectives of:

Expanding our resources for the Watkins community :
The asking price for a Zine is usually one to three dollars to cover costs for printing and mailing. Subscriptions are generally around $10.00. The only other added costs here would be shipping and storing supplies. A zine collection can be built and maintained withing a reasonable cost and time frame.

Creating a more vibrant library atmosphere:
A zine collection will be an outreach tool to our student body which. Not only will it provide our community with unique reading materials, but will also serve as a repository for created works of students who create in this format.

Stimulating a student body interest in reading:
Zines appeal to a wide range of populations outside of the normal realm of general library users. A Zine collection is a great way to reach out to reluctant readers. Zines may provide a gateway to get Watkins students more interested in making reading a part of their creative habits.

Additional Benefits
  • Unique nature of collection may attract potential students to Watkins
  • Unique nature of collection may attract community interest in Watkins
Zines, like regular magazines and periodicals cover a variety of topics, our Zine collection would relate to the Watkins community interest of art and creativity. Zines will be selected for their variety and creative content.

Many members of the Watkins community create Zines. Watkins faculty and students as well as outside artists may donate their zines for our collection.

Zines may be ordered through the following distributors:
1. Fall of Autumn
2. Microcosm Publishing
3. Parcell Press

Art-Zine Book Vendors:
4. Printed Matter
5. Oooga Booga
6. Art Metropole

Technical Aspects
Cataloging and processing: Zines will be processed in a manner similar to our periodicals.
  • Upon receipt, zines will be entered into MS Access database indicating order process completed.
  • Basic descriptive information will be entered into cataloging fields on MS Access database using Sears subject headings
  • Zines will be displayed on periodical shelf which as of now holds a rarely circulating cartoon book display.
  • Zines will be given an accession number in MS Access which will be repeated on zine backing for inventory and tracking purposes
  • Zines will be displayed with cardboard stiffeners and plastic sleeves used for comic books
  • A list from MS Access will be exported into a report with title descriptions. Patrons may search for items in our zine collection from updated report.
  • Zine collection information will be migrated from MS Access to our new online catalog set to be in place for the next fiscal year, 2008.
Should zine collection grow beyond control of assigned shelving, backup will be stored/archived for a period in the nearby file cabinets which hold exhibition catalogs and pamphlets.

A portion of our collection will be housed in our library permanently, pending on storage space and validity to the Watkins mission.

Zines may be checked out and enjoy similar circulation privileges to books. Zines must be checked out though sign out sheet at the circulation desk until we get our collection entered on the new OPAC in 2008.

Budget & Funding
An alloted amount of zine funding could come from our periodicals budget. We may also have a zine open house event in our library in which we ask for donations to help fund the Watkins Zine project.

Action Plan
· Clearance plan with necessary authorities
· Determine acquisitions work flow
· Plan for open house in the fall/fund raising
· Create MS Access database and workflow manual for processing zines

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

ART+BOOK+NOISE: going hybrid

I had the pleasure of attending last month's ARLIS (Art Libraries Society of North America) conference in Atlanta- my first large conference as a...gulp, professional.

I am still working on catching-up and implementing all I have learned...ahem-that's my lame excuse for not posting lately. I learned lots during the workshops, panels, meetings and so forth- however, the most exciting and moving moments came though chance meetings with old and new friends. One such chance meeting occured at the new members pub crawl.

I happened upon dining with CeCi Moss an art librarian, DJ, and author of the art+music blog A Million Keys and Suz Massen, an art librarian, art history grad student, comic book lover, and founder of The Desk Set. From said illustrious friends I gained some info to pass along here, hopefully they will illuminate choice words for post title, anyhow...enjoy and thank you, here's to chance meetings.

Ooga Booga Bookstore
"a mixed-up artsy hub where musicians can act like designers, artists can act like musicians, and designers can act like writers."- L.A. Edition

This site is worth checking out- find zines and various hard to find printed books, broadsides, music and other neat stuffs.
Rhizome is an interesting animal for those who gravitate to alternative media. Rhizome is a non-profit which serves as a global community and forum for new media arts. This website has shown pioneering leadership in using new 2.0 tools to create a dynamic website. Artists who post on this site have been given the honors of tagging their work. This has helped created a unique, creative, innovative web arts community.

Printed Matter
I had the pleasure of stumbling upon the Printed Matter booth at the ARLIS exhibition hall. I wanted to lick each and every book they had- they were just amazing. Printed matter carries a variety of periodicals (both contemporary and historical) relating to alternative media and arts. Printed Matter started as a non-profit alternative arts space in 1976, through the years it has morphed into one of the largest non-profits dedicated to publications created by artists.
Here is a blurb from their site...

"Recognized for years as an essential voice in the increasingly diversified art world conversations and debates, Printed Matter is dedicated to the examination and interrogation of the changing role of artists’ publications in the landscape of contemporary art."

Art Metropole
I also stumbled upon an exhibit from Art Metropole at the ARLIS conference having near exstatico fetish-like biblio meltdown as I pawned over their stacks. Founded in 1974 by a Canadian artists group "General Idea," Art Metropole is a non-profit that exhibits, publishes, and promotes contemporary artists' created media in book, music, and mixed media format.

Monday, May 21, 2007

zine librarians meet up at the AMC!

For all AMC conference goers who happen to be zine librarians (in the broadest sense of the term) we are going to meet up and share resources, best practices, and zines!

Please join our open discussion on the pleasures and hurdles involved in creating alternative media collections. Zinesters, Distros, and Info-Shop affiliates interested in building relationships with libraries are also invited to come. Resources for starting a zine collection in a public or academic library will be available in addition to guides for getting your zines into library collections. Such collections operate through collaborative efforts with the zine and library community. Come together and strengthen our mission to bring alternative media to the public forum.

If you are attending please drop me a line, I am looking for a co-facilitator!

Allied Media Conference, 2007

"It's getting louder and louder out there. Though much of humanity is still silenced, more people than ever are speaking out. Whether it be with high-tech tools like blogs, video cameras, and MPCs, or lo-fi tools like spray paint or the spoken word, people are voicing their truths and forging new connections. For eight years, the Allied Media Conference has contributed to that by providing hands-on trainings, accessible discussions, and a supportive community.

Now in its ninth year, the AMC will continue to provide a critical space for us to strategize on the role of media in our communities and movements. In a time of escalating war, and the daily violence of neoliberal policies, we need media that amplifies the voices of those most affected by these crises. We need media that not only breaks silence, but mobilizes people to envision alternatives and to take action.

This year the AMC moves to Detroit. This international city of communities, neighborhoods, and grassroots organizations looks forward to welcoming conference attendees as visitors and allies.

Together we will explore how participatory media can be a source of transformation for ourselves, for our communities and, on a larger scale, the world. We will investigate ways of making and using media that empower both the producer and the receiver, that create new relationships and realities. Against the silence that surrounds, we will find new ways of being heard, and of hearing one another."

Learn more about the AMC.