International Zine Month event

International Zine Month event
Celebrating zines
15 August 2014

On Sunday 27 July 2014 the Library, along with the Museum of Australian Democracy (MoAD) celebrated International Zine Month by co-hosting a special event to highlight why zines belong in libraries. A small group of zine-lovers met in the zine lounge at MoAD, a wonderful space stocked with everything a budding zinester needs to cut copy and paste their own publication.

Librarians from MoAD and the Library spoke to the group about their zine collections, discussing many of the reasons why libraries collect them. The two reasons that really inspired the group were firstly; that zines give a voice to people who might otherwise be overlooked (for example, the Refugee Art Project zine), thereby providing balance to the Library’s collection, and secondly, that many zines demonstrate creative or artistic characteristics not well represented in other mainstream publishing (for example, Audrey & Audrey).

The zine lounge has proved to be so popular, especially with school groups, that MoAD generously presented the Library with two bound copies of the collected works created there (so far!).

Librarians in the MoAD zine lounge

Librarians in the MoAD zine lounge, photo courtesy of Nanette Louchart-Fletcher

MoAD zine

MoAD zines

MoAD houses some very interesting items, including a first edition of Thomas Payne’s The Rights of Man (currently on display in the Designing Democracy exhibition). Payne is widely considered to be one of the very first zinesters, and the success of his work shows how underground publications have changed the course of history, with the knock-on effect of shaping Australian democracy.

Everyone enjoyed browsing through a selection of other political pamphlets, which included The Labor of Gough.

The Labor of Gough

The Labor of Gough, photo courtesy of Nat Clark

The group then wandered across to the Library, where the librarians had set-up a small display of selected zines for them to peruse from the more than 2000 held by the Library.

Enjoying the zine display

Enjoying the zine display, photo courtesy of Nat Clark

It was suggested that we select approximately 20 titles for the display. We barely managed to narrow it down to 43. The Library has so many amazing zines in the collection that we could have easily doubled or tripled this number. Oh well, there’s always next year.

A blast from the past, Mavis McKenzie was a big hit!

The life and times of Mavis McKenzie

The life and times of Mavis McKenzie zine

Nat & Mavis

Nat Clark and Mavis

Crotch by local Canberra artist Ampersand Duck kept everyone giggling!


Crotch zine, photo courtesy of Nat Clark

Fandom abides in SPOCK (short for Startrek Propaganda on Club Kids).


SPOCK fanzine

We recently acquired the tiny but beautiful Teleportation via colour photocopier, which requires custom-housing for preservation.

Teleportation via colour photocopier

Teleportation via colour photocopier zine

We finished up the day with a guided tour through the Library stacks, visiting zines in their various locations, including the Henderson Collection, which houses approximately 1500 zines. As only the tiniest fraction of the Library is open to the public, our tour group was intrigued and impressed when we took them behind the scenes.

The Library regularly runs non-ziney Behind the Scenes tours, so please come along!

Tube room

Library tube room, photo courtesy of Nat Clark

Card catalogue

Beautiful old card catalogue, photo courtesy of Nat Clark

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