By Amira Turner
Despite being a campus hotspot, many Brooklyn College students aren’t aware that books and computers aren’t the only resources the library offers. Just around the corner from the reference desk and tucked behind the printer station, is Brooklyn College’s very own zine collection.
Zines are independently published self-circulated magazines that were first published by science fiction writers in the 1930s. Zines gained popularity in the New York punk scene among marginalized groups including feminists, people of color, and queer people in the 1980s. These groups particularly benefited from zines, because zines have historically been an art form with low barriers to entry, and are an accessible means of spreading information. With the Brooklyn Museum’s recent “Copy Machine Manifest: Artists Who Make Zines” exhibit, zines are making a comeback in New York City.
BC’s own Zine Collection was started in 2009 by former BC librarian, Alycia Sellie. The collection archives zines that vary in size and format, as well as featuring zines on everything, from starting your underground zine press to the history of zines, as well as including a range of topics from art to film to gender.
Since Sellie’s departure, upkeep for the Zine Collection has declined due to staffing shortages, according to reference librarian Mariana Regalado.
“We’re very low on staff to do the cataloging and things like that. So it’s a very non-active collection,” Regalado told The Vanguard
Despite being unable to accept new submissions or keep up the archive, the staff at the library still encourages students to be inspired by zines.
“It’s a great way for students to get into writing and reading and also just connecting with people with similar interests,” Regaldo said.
Zines are known for their low barrier to entry, as most just require a printer, paper, and an idea. Even though the library isn’t accepting open submissions, they are always looking to archive zines related to the BC community.
“If students make zines about the college, that’s the kind of things that archives would potentially be interested in […] if a student club made a zine about their club, because the art archives collect materials about the school,” Regaldo said.
For students interested in viewing other zine archives around the city, the Brooklyn Museum, SUNY New Paltz, and the New York Public Library have collections open to the public. To learn more about BC’s own zine collection, visit https://libguides.brooklyn.cuny.edu/zines or email email@example.com.