While definitions can vary, a zine (pronounced “zeen”) is typically a self-published, small-circulation publication comprised of text and images. The contents may be entirely original, appropriated, or employ a mix of both. They’re typically DIY in nature, created by hand using collage, illustration, lettering, and stapled or stitched together. They are sometimes created using digital methods or a combination of both creative approaches.
An important part of zines is that anyone can create them and become a zinester, including you. Zines are created and distributed outside of the mainstream publishing process typically without profit as the goal; they are not subject to the peer-review or editorial processes and exist as a significant alternative information source. Because of this, zines are democratic in nature and are often outlets for underrepresented voices, countercultures, and authors who have something to share which is meaningful to them.
One of the most exciting aspects of zines is that they can be about so many different things. Below are a few types we note in our Collection Development Policy:
Perzines, or personal zines, which concern themselves with the experiences, opinions, dreams, musings, or more of their creator
Social, political, or activist zines, covering contemporary or historical issues in these categories
Film, photography, music, or art zines, which may feature the creations of the authors or comment on these art forms
DIY zines, which instruct readers on how to do something themselves
Literary zines, which may contain poetry, essays, short stories, or micro-fiction
Fanzines, which can cover a variety of personal passions or fandoms
A zine does not have to be confined to one of these categories though, and that is where creativity can flourish. You may wish to create a perzine which incorporates your own photos, or perhaps a literary zine featuring poetry and found images. The inherent fluidity of zines means you can approach creation on your own terms.