Zines in Libraries: Selecting, Purchasing, and Processing

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  • About the authors
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Featuring contributions from leaders in the intersection between zines and libraries, including Katrin Abel, Jeremy Brett, Ann (A'misa) Matsushima Chiu, Marta Chudolinska,  Jenna Freedman, Joan Jocson-Singh, Mica Johnson, Lauren Kehoe, Joshua Lupkin, Meg Metcalf, and Ziba Perez, this book presents an in-depth look at adding these unique materials successfully to a library collection.  

Their homegrown and esoteric aesthetic make zines important cultural and historical objects. Including them in library collections is a perfect way to amplify underrepresented voices. But the road from acquisition to cataloging these underground, self-published, and often fragile items can be difficult. This resource smooths the path forward, offering top-to-bottom guidance for collection development and acquisitions staff, administrators, catalogers, and access services librarians in understanding and processing zines for library collections. Readers will learn

  • why these collections are valuable, and how libraries can start a collection of their own;
  • targeted advice on zine collection development and management, including policy, selection, cataloging, and promotion;
  • how to navigate the challenges of obtaining zines from small independent vendors, zinefests, distros, third-party donors, and art collectives;
  • ways to work with zine creators to develop a respectful preservation program; 
  • insights from a case study exploring genre, context, and purpose in contemporary Latin American fanzines;
  • where zines can fit in at school libraries or in one-shot instruction; and
  • a look at the future of zines, from online zines to zine communities that are increasingly accessible, inclusive, and diverse.


Chapter 1    Introduction: Zines in Libraries
Meg Metcalf

Chapter 2    The Importance of Acquiring Zines
Joan Jocson-Singh

Chapter 3    Zine Collection Development: Policy, Selection, and Promotion
Katrin Abel

Chapter 4    Genre, Context, and Purpose in Contemporary Latin American Fanzines
Joshua Lupkin

Chapter 5    Zines in School Libraries
Mica Johnson

Chapter 6    Zines Online
Marta Chudolinska

Chapter 7    Zines and Acquisitions: Adventure and Conundrum
Lauren DeVoe

Chapter 8    The Barnard Zine Library: The Controlled and the Wild
Jenna Freedman

Chapter 9    The Zine Union Catalog
Lauren Kehoe

Chapter 10    Circulating Zines
Ziba Pérez

Chapter 11    Zine Preservation
Jeremy Brett

Chapter 12    Our Zine Futures: A Call for Accessible, Inclusive, and Diverse Zine Communities
Ann Matsushima Chiu (A’misa)

About the Contributors

Lauren DeVoe

Lauren DeVoe (she/her) is the Order and Continuing Resources Librarian for the Columbia University Libraries in New York City. In her role as an acquisitions librarian at several institutions, she has handled materials of all sorts and varieties, as well cultivated relationships with a diverse range of vendors. Lauren’s research interests include zines in technical services workflows, witchcraft in literature, specifically the role of women as witch figures, and Jacobean drama.

Sara Duff

Sara Duff is the Acquisitions & Collection Assessment Librarian at the University of Central Florida. She is the co-author of the book Guidance for Librarians Transitioning to a New Environment. Her areas of interest include communicating the value of the collection and improving textbook affordability options. She is an avid fan of zines and micropresses.


The former Association for Library Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS), the Library Information Technology Association (LITA), and the Library Leadership and Management Association (LLAMA) are now Core: Leadership, Infrastructure, Futures, a new division of ALA. Its mission is to cultivate and amplify the collective expertise of library workers in core functions through community building, advocacy, and learning.

"In recent years, zines have become a valuable resource in academic and public institutions. Many institutions have undertaken zine acquisitions as part of diversity and inclusion initiatives. DeVoe and Duff have written careful introductions to explore the history and value of these publications ... Librarians both public and academic will find this text useful in understanding zines and/or in creating a cut collection of them at their institution. The index allows for easy reference and the supplemental materials should prove inspiring for first-time and seasoned collectors alike. Throughout, the contributors take great pains to emphasize the many benefits of a zine collection and to explore the variety of forms and functions of these resources in the modern world."
— Booklist

"The collection is informative and provides practical information ... I recommend this book because of the varying perspectives and experiences of the contributors."
— Technicalities

"This volume will be useful as both an introduction for libraries starting a zine collection and for those with zine experience."
— Choice