Freecycle for archives and old publications?
March 11, 2020 8:19 AM   Subscribe

When I'm getting rid of old publications - play programs, fanzine newsletters, ancient software manuals - is there an easy way to see if anyone would want them?

I'm slowly decluttering, which includes getting rid of years-old publications - things like:

* programs from plays and (mostly jazz and classical) concerts
* museum member magazines
* fairly mainstream magazines, like Smithsonian
* fan newsletters, like Utopia Times
* Mac Expo programs
* San Francisco music weeklies (like BAM)

I would love it if there were some sort of Freecycle for archives - a mailing list for archivists where people say "hey I've got these materials" and any interested archivists can claim them. Does such a thing exist?

Would an eBay consignment seller be worth it?

(Note: I know there might be no one at all who wants this stuff; I just would rather it go to a good home if anyone DOES want it.)

tl;dr: Any good, low-effort ways to find out if anyone would actually like this stuff before I dump it?

posted by kristi to Media & Arts (7 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
There are definitely a LOT of mailing lists for archivists. I think you'd have the most luck looking for local folks for things. Mainstream magazines like Smithsonian are least likely to have eager takers but might be good for art classes and etc (around here that is where people send theirs). For BAM this is where I'd start at the Society of California Archivists (possibly the Experience Music Project but I'm not aware if they have archival stuff). Mac Expo programs could go to the Internet Archive I suspect (email/tweet at Jason Scott and see). I'm not familiar with Utopia Times but fan stuff can often find a good home. Calling the SFPL might be a good way to start, I'm sure they've heard this questions before.
posted by jessamyn at 8:32 AM on March 11, 2020 [3 favorites]

SF Zine Fest accepts donations. Maybe reach to them about what you have?
posted by mykescipark at 9:23 AM on March 11, 2020

For play programs - maybe the New York Public Library's Performing Arts Collection at Lincoln Center. It's a branch of the New York library system, but they also have a clippings archive, with programs, clippings, scrapbooks, photos, and other ephemera going back years. I used it a lot in the early Aughts when I was working with a theater company that did older American plays; ask them for the file on a given play and you get to see reviews, programs from out-of-town tryouts, programs from other productions nationwide, gossip column items, you name it. When I was doing the most intense Theater History writing that was always my first stop because the material they have is so exhaustive - largely because it looked like they took everything.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 9:30 AM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

The University of Iowa Special Collections Archive includes a fanzine archive; they may be interested in several of your non-magazine collections. (I mean. They may have an interest in magazines, too, but those are often well-documented in various places.)
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 10:51 AM on March 11, 2020

You might want to contact the Internet Archive
posted by kbuxton at 12:54 PM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

if you feel up to a little legwork, people list lots of paper on ebay all the time - i used to buy antique letters, etc for use in art pieces
posted by megan_magnolia at 4:57 PM on March 11, 2020 [1 favorite]

These are all great - all very helpful answers.

The NYPL turned me down (unsurprisingly) but it was a great suggestion anyway.

I've gotten a nibble from one of the zine archives, so I'm hoping I'll be able to find homes for a good chunk of this stuff.

Thank you all!
posted by kristi at 9:01 AM on March 19, 2020

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