I Made a Zine at the Library (And So Should You)

Libraries offer people the opportunity to get lost in a sea of books. Authors line our shelves, and people are encouraged to dive in and absorb the thoughts/knowledge/experiences of them, as their material has been deemed worthy of publishing. But what about the rest of us who have something literary to share without dreams (or the money) to publish? 

Enter zines. 

Zines are a platform that allow a creator the freedom to self publish material without the expense of traditional publishing, and they give the creator complete control over the content. There are no formatting rules for zines-- no subjects that are off limits. Words and visuals can be used alone or combined to create a tangible that you can keep for yourself, give out to friends, sell online or at expos (the St. Louis Small Press Expo is held at Central Library!), or even have cataloged in your local zine collection (yes, we also have a zine collection here at Central Library!). But enough about the merits of zines, let's get down to business:


... in a little over an hour, in fact. My department, Entertainment, Literature & Biography is hosting drop-in zine making during the entire month of February, and what kind of host would I be if I didn't partake in the fun? I didn't get started with any particular message or theme in mind, I just thought I'd start moving pieces around until something stuck. I began by making what ended up as the cover. I placed a bunch of images face down on the scanner within an 8.5 X 11 space and made a color copy: 

*I didn't even have to pay for the copy. If you have a library card, you get $5.00 worth of free copies every month, black & white copies are 10 cents a piece and color copies are 30 cents.

After I had my cover/back page (I folded the 8.5 X 11 paper in half) I moved over to the zine making table and looked for inspiration. The first thing that pops out at me? A delicious-looking donut: 

For whatever reason the term 'donut town' came to mind and I used a stencil that was at the table to draw the term down edge of the paper. Soon I had filled the page with my own little anecdote about donuts: 

With donuts on the brain, I realized this zine was going to have a focus after all. This would be a donut tribute zine-- a fan zine about America's favorite early-morning meeting food. I made up fun and fake donut facts. I put in the ingredients for a donut recipe (the cooking instructions wouldn't fit). I cut & pasted, folded, scribbled, and best of all, stapled with this cool stapler, capable of making a saddle stitch: 

Soon enough, I had a completed zine: 

You Should Make One Too

Why? You'll provide an outlet for your creativity. Your thoughts and feelings can take printed form. It's February, it's cold, and it's nice inside. It's fun. You can do it all for free at Central Library for the entire month of February. Questions? Want to bring a group in? Contact Chris at clabarbera@slpl.org, or simply drop by and get started. 

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