Zines and flowers outside of the library. The title of the images says "zines"

This year the Library launched a circulating collection of zines, the seeds of which were donated to the Library through the generosity of Boxcar Books. This collection continues to grow through purchases and donations and is now comprised of almost 400 titles.

A zine (/ziːn/ ZEEN; short for magazine or fanzine) is a small-circulation, self-published work of original or appropriated texts and images that often give voice to small, local, underrepresented, or marginalized communities. Zines are created and reproduced on a small scale, including everything from comics and DIY self-help guides to personal stories, nonfiction, and more.

Zines house a long history, from their origins in 1930s sci-fi culture, through the punk culture of the 70s and a resurgence in the 90s under riot grrrl, to today, where there are more voices and more ideas published than ever before.

One of the types of zines you can find numerous examples of in the Library’s collection is the perzine, a zine that usually contains the author's personal reflections and opinions on anything they want to write about. Perzines take on many different forms, from writing to collage to comics and more. Here are some perzines in the Library's collection.

Tributaries. 4: An intro to arthritis in youth


One of the most powerful things that zines can do is give an intimate perspective on aspects of  another’s life. In Tributaries v. 4 JC tells her experience with Rheumatoid Arthritis, a illness she has had for most or all of her life. One of the complications she had was that doctors were unable to provide her with a diagnoses for more than five years after her symptoms started. Reading about her experience and how it affected her gave an important perspective on RA and its challenges.

Thirty Days In Brooklyn


Detailing the first thirty days of Fiona Avocado’s life at the Koz collective in NYC, this diary comic takes us along the contours of NYC life, from seeing amazing art not found anywhere else in the world, to disillusionment with spaces not being what imagined and everything being altogether too expensive, to eventually moving on when you realize it’s not the right place for you. Avocado really invites you into her head, and you feel really drawn into the comic artist’s headspace. I felt calmer after reading this.

Milkyboots v. 14


A comic and perzine mix, this zine follows Virginia as she deals with a breakup, hangs with friends, and ultimately learns to heal. Showcasing beautiful illustrations of her friends and idols, as well as photographs and life tales, this zine is quick picker-upper for anyone feeling low.

*Fun Fact: While many zines have multiple volumes (this edition of Milkyboots is volume 14), unlike books or graphic novels, because zines are shorter and more generally personable, you can read many zines out of order and still get a full story!

Haunted Ground


A perzine about some spooky occurrences in an apartment bathroom, as well as a ghost tale from growing up. If you are in the mood to feel creepy about living alone or living in a new place...this is definitely the zine to read!

Avocado Spaceship: Explorations of the Interior


A zine with a non-fluid narrative (you can turn to any page at any time!) with text juxtaposed with photographs. Largely poems or comments on personal experiences, this zine is witty and thought-provoking.

Sing Along Forever: A Love Letter To The Bouncing Souls


You know the feeling sometimes when a band really, really gets at the heart of what you’re feeling and thinking and it's like they're screaming your thoughts back to you but saying it better than you ever could? For Liz Baillie that band was the Bouncing Souls, and this is her love letter to them, chronicling her failed attempts to see the band, what they meant to her growing up, and culminating in getting to meet them at Warped Tour in 2008.

The Library’s zine collection covers a wide and diverse range of voices and topics from cooking and crafts, to psychology and politics. You can find it in The Commons on the second floor of the Downtown Library. Interested in having your zine added to the collection? Submit a copy for consideration at any information desk or email Annise Blanchard at ablancha [at] monroe.lib.in.us.