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News :: Media
'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
22 May 2005
A new library has opened up right in Harvard Square--The Papercut 'Zine Library. But they don't have any books. Instead, they have 'zines.

'Zines are self-published magazines that address universes of different topics. There are 'zines about being a substitute teacher, how to compost, growing up as an immigrant, animal rights and high school crushes. They're becoming increasingly popular as everyone starts to make their own 'zine.

Now there are 'zine libraries all around the country. This radio piece documents the opening of Boston's new 'zine library.
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Your browser does not support embedded sound files. <a href="http://boston.indymedia.org/usermedia/audio/1/37170_zine-library.mp3">Download the file.</a>
A new library has opened up right in Harvard Square. But they don't have any books. Instead, they have 'zines.

'Zines are self-published magazines that address universes of different topics. There are 'zines about being a substitute teacher, how to compost, growing up as an immigrant, animal rights and high school crushes. They're becoming increasingly popular as everyone starts to make their own 'zine.

Now there are 'zine libraries all around the country. This radio piece documents the opening of Boston's new 'zine library.
See also:
http://baamboston.org/papercut

This work is in the public domain.
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Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
22 May 2005
Wow, the space looks great. So.... library like. I'll be bringing down my crate of old zines and such.
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
23 May 2005
"A new kind of publication called 'zines"

1974 called and wants its fad back.

You might want to look into something called the "internet".
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
23 May 2005
hoo hoo hoo on the "fad "comment--that was freakin' hilarious, mate
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
23 May 2005
Hey! I buy that used underwear!!!
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
23 May 2005
What the hell do you have against a fucking zine library? Seriously. If someone posted pictures of kittens, you'd guys find a way to shit all over it as well.


there are far better things to complain about.

Also, good job to the collective who put this together. The space is amazing and there's a really sweet collection of stuff here. Go check it out if you can.
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
23 May 2005
I can't believe people are bored enough to make fun of a zine library. Oh wait, yeah I can. Go jerk off you fucktards. This place is awesome. You're just pissed because the last project you got completed was sending out the money order for the blow up doll you won on ebay.
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
23 May 2005
I'm not making fun of the 'zine library (although it is a little quaint). I'm making fun of the people who call it a "new kind of publication".

A much better use of the space and resources would be to set up a few terminals with self-publishing tools for the public to use, and then host their content.

Then instead of having a few shelves of photocopied 'zines available only to Cambridge locals, you could give people without access to computers or internet connections a way to produce and publish their work online for a global audience.

This could be a real service to locals in Cambridge who can't afford computers or internet connections. People could learn marketable design skills, while producing their own unique content.

You could also archive digital copies of 'zines from all around the world, from the last 30 years. This could preserve lots of material from the early days of 'zines that would otherwise be lost, especially since these aren't archived by any regular libraries. If you insist on being old fashioned, you could print them out on demand (kind of a waste of paper, though).

This would be fairly trivial to set up. You already have the physical space as well as a web site. All the software you'd need is free. There are tons of decomissioned computers at local universities and businesses that can be acquired for free.
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
23 May 2005
if that kind of work is so trivial, why aren't you putting it together right now?

Honestly, I can't believe how shitty the people on here are. here is a group of people working really hard to get information out to people and archiving information and everyone just sits and complains about it.

They actually don't have the space to set up a shit ton of computers, and they don't have the man power to operate something like that (or the grounded outlets for that matter). That building is not equipped for a DIY kinko's. Although they are planning on holding skillshares on DIY publishing and zine making.

I think them just setting up a space that encourages the reading and making of zines is a great start. If they want to branch out into having their own publishing and distro eventually, then that's their choice. But right now, for the love of whatever leftist hero you worship, you should applaud their efforts for bringing zines and DIY publications to the forefront again.
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
24 May 2005
Christ. It's not a complaint.

This is like setting up a papyrus scroll reading room after the invention of the printing press. If your goal is to hang out with your friends reading papyrus scrolls, then congratulations. Knock yourself out.

If your goal is to disseminate information and content that people would otherwise never get a chance to see, then you've missed the boat.

"bring DIY publications to the forefront again"

Did you just wake up from a coma? DIY publishing is at its all-time high, with no sign of abating. In the past, 'zines were crappy, hand-drawn photocopies passed out at coffeeshops because people had no alternative. Today, people can produce high-quality, professional content for a fraction of the cost, and for a global audience.

Why get defensive? Whoever posted this is the one drawing attention to their project. If they can't take some constructive criticism, then don't bother posting it.

"If that kind of work is so trivial, why aren't you putting it together right now?"

It's trivial if you've already got a physical space and a website. Since you've asked, this isn't my cup of tea. But I don't fault the idea, because I think it has some merit. I just think it can be done better.
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
24 May 2005
I think this 'zine library sounds cool. I'll be stopping by first chance I get. It's self-publication in it's most simple and hands-on way.

Kudos to those folks who put it together!
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
24 May 2005
Actually the person who made this original post, happymeal, is not involved in the library at all. She contacted one of our librarians and asked if she could do an interview.

As for "doing it better", we'd like to host an electronic database eventually. Right now we have a searchable database set up that we have yet to put information into (it takes a LOT of manpower. We have over 1600+ zines catalogued so far by hand and only a few people who are able to commit the time or have access to a decent internet connection).

If anyone with a scanner is willing to take the time to start putting these things in e-zine format (PDFs), we'd love that, but right now we don't have the time since we're still cataloguing the mass amounts of stuff that is coming in (and none of it is old musty crusty, most of the stuff has been well taken care of).

Also a lot of people enjoy reading zines on a physical level instead of on the computer screen. E-zines are nice, but there's only so much you can read before your head starts to pound (at least for me). Also, with e-zines, we are lacking the physical properties of zine making, a lot more zines now are far advanced the point of bad photocopied collage. There's people experimenting with all kinds of materials and formats and these elements are missing with the e-zine.

also, we don't have internet access at the place right now. Actually, getting the website made was a pain in of itself since none of us are that internet savy and we're grateful to the few who have helped us in that department.

So yes, we eventually hope to have a large electronic selection available to people who can't physically come to the library, and we also hope to teach people courses in making zines, both physically and electronically.

But right now we just got the place opened and we're still getting it set up and getting an idea of what people are interested in. So far the response has been awesome, with many coming in, kicking back and reading a few zines before heading off to work or class.

As for space, the room we can utilize for the library is rather small and there's already built in shelves. There's hardly a space for more than one computer and we don't have the permission to turn the rest of the place into a computer lab. We're not the only ones who use that building.

As for zines being "new", I don't think any of the librarians (and I certainly don't) believe that.

thanks for your criticism, we've taken all of this into account while we were putting this thing together. It's hardly a trivial project to accomplish, given the insane amounts of zines and DIY publications out there. We are working to become a both physical and electronic library, its just going to take time.
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
24 May 2005
Okay. So, then I think your interviewer was a bit clueless. That's all.

Good luck with the project.

It would be great to scan these in one day. Especially really old 'zines that are rotting in people's basements.

I meant it's "trivial" if you wanted something simple: couple computers, scanner, web site. Setting up an online US 'Zine Library of Congress is another matter. I didn't mean to belittle your work so far.

(On that note, you can make a case that cultural history is being lost and should be preserved. That kind of project can attract grants or funding. Just a thought if someone wanted to make a full time job out of it.)

Cheers.
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
24 May 2005
part of why I started this project last year was because of a friend of mine who had an insane amount of zines lying on his floor and under his bed that I knew could be better utilized. It's part a conservation project and part an information-sharing project. Eventually we'd like to have scanned and printed copies of the older zines (1995 and earlier) available for lending and the originals for display/reference only. Unfortunately we're not at that point yet. If you know anyone who's willing to help with that, contact me at papercut (at) riseup.net

thanks!
Re: 'Zine Library Opens in Harvard Square
19 Jun 2006
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http://batbat.batcave.net/online_sport_book