What archive would like my zine collection?
February 25, 2019 3:19 PM   Subscribe

Where could I donate about a half-dozen legal boxes worth of zines, fanzines, self-published comics, underground newspapers and so on? These are primarily from the early 80s through mid-90s, but there are a few items dating back earlier. I know there are institutional archives compiling these, but I don't have any leads on who would be interested and I'm also feeling daunted by the task of shipping the stuff.

The collection is pretty haphazard, because my interests were eclectic and I was usually more interested in picking up issues that caught my attention at the moment rather than trying to be completist. So the boxes are mostly full of SF small press, music zines, minicomics, small press comics and so on, but there are also some underground newspapers, regional music weeklies, personal journals, and so on.

As much as I'd like to hang on to these, the reality is I haven't taken a peek at most of them for a good 20 years, and I'm highly unlikely to start rereading them all now, so the stuff is probably better off somewhere they might be better cared for and findable by people interested in first-hand accounts of, say, what the grunge music scene was like before the word "grunge" was coined.
posted by ardgedee to Society & Culture (16 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Barnard has a zine library as well as a list of other zine archives
posted by noloveforned at 3:24 PM on February 25 [2 favorites]

Here is one place I know of offhand: https://denverzinelibrary.org/donate
posted by Clustercuss at 3:24 PM on February 25

Since many of the zines are from SF, I'd consider contacting the SF Zine Fest to see if they are interested.
posted by smorgasbord at 3:34 PM on February 25

MSU's Special Collections is well known for its Radicalism, Zines, SF and Comic Art collections.
posted by Laetiporus at 4:36 PM on February 25

FTR, I know it's a hard time to recommend doing anything nice for Michigan State, but I will say that the student body and community doesn't exactly have the access to the resources of the Barnard community in a lot of ways. Those special collections? Of the weird and underground and radical and indie? That you can just go in and read? Make a difference.
posted by Laetiporus at 4:45 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]

Barnard's archive is topically focused ("We collect zines on feminism and femme identity by people of all genders") and my collection won't be of much interest to them.
posted by ardgedee at 5:19 PM on February 25

I wonder if Archive.org might be interested to add them to the Zines collection?
posted by jzb at 5:30 PM on February 25 [1 favorite]

> Since many of the zines are from SF, I'd consider contacting the SF Zine Fest to see if they are interested.

Sorry! By "SF" I meant Science Fiction.
posted by ardgedee at 5:40 PM on February 25

The Punk Archive at the DC Public Library may be interested or else may have recommendations for other institutions to ask.

From the Collection notes: "Subject content is not be limited to the music itself, but could include anything pertinent to the cultural context, such as organizations, record labels, houses, venues, festivals, record shops, radio stations and tours. The subject scope is intentionally broad, punk and related local independent music 1976 to present, in order to capture both well-documented and lesser-known stories."
posted by juliplease at 6:07 PM on February 25

I can put you in touch with the Barnard zine librarians but DC is definitely your best bet.
posted by jessamyn at 6:11 PM on February 25

I have friends involved with zine archiving; they have connections with universities. I'll contact them and see if they have suggestions.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 11:37 PM on February 25

Talk to Jennifer at the Town Talk Library (Austin, TX). I published one tiny zine once, and Jennifer tracked me down to get a copy.
posted by scruss at 5:46 AM on February 26

Denver Zine Library might be a good choice. Atlanta also has one.
posted by evilDoug at 7:16 AM on February 26

Maybe also check with your local library? Depending where you are, and if some of your zines are local to there, they might have some interest. My relatively small city's has a fairly extensive zine collection, which is probably an artifact of our city's relationship with punk/grunge history, but yours may be similar!
posted by epersonae at 2:46 PM on February 26

I read this, and wondered if I had accidentally posted in my sleep.

I'm about to recycle my own box of zines (Irish, American, Canadian) because I also haven't read them in 10-15+ years. And while I haven't pulled the trigger yet, I remind myself that zines were not created to be archived, they were created to share ideas and build community. My zines had their time. All the next generations of teen & twenty-something artists and activists are going to have their own good ideas.

By all means, if you find a delighted archivist, that's great. But if you don't (and FWIW, I'm a librarian), you might want to consider joining me in the nuclear option. Good luck!
posted by tamarack at 10:45 PM on February 26

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