Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Get Up to Speed with Zines Carnegie Library Will Be Hosting a Workshop on How to Create Your Very Own Handmade Magazine

Newspaper article Pittsburgh Post-Gazette (Pittsburgh, PA)

Get Up to Speed with Zines Carnegie Library Will Be Hosting a Workshop on How to Create Your Very Own Handmade Magazine

Article excerpt

We here at The Pittsburgh Press are committed to delivering information via your computerized Internet thingamajig. That's how 21st century we are.

We're also confident enough to talk about zines, the handmade magazines that Alycia Sellie, founder of the Madison Zine Fest, said "satisfy a cultural niche not filled by other media outlets."

Fortunately, there are plenty of cultural niches to go around.

"[Zines] are made to reflect what the author sees as a void in their current media consumption or to honor themselves and their own views and daily lives as important expressions," Ms. Sellie said in a Post-Gazette story last year. (Perhaps you read it in the archaic cultural niche we used to call a "newspaper.")

They have been described as "handmade magazines intended for a small audience, often produced on copy machines." For those of you seeking extra-point value, the word "zine" was added to the official Scrabble dictionary only five years ago.

Here's what Wikipedia says about them:

"Zines are often distributed by trade, sold at house shows, zine events or by zine distros. Prices vary. Some zines are distributed for free or may cost $1-$3. Rarely do photocopied zines cost more than $3. Other zines, the perfect-bound or full-color zines, may cost up to $10 or more.

"Zines are an ephemeric medium. ... Many aren't preserved the way other documents are. To combat this, a few zine libraries now exist in coffee house basements, bookstore storage rooms and college campuses all over the world. A zine library accepts donations from zinesters and others, catalogs these zines and will usually allow their collection to be browsed or borrowed from."

Makes you wonder if the esteemed Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is among those collecting zines.

The answer is not only "What a silly question!" -- but the Carnegie is offering a workshop tonight to help you get your own self into zine publishing.

It's not as glamorous as newspaper publishing, but you have to start somewhere.

"Zines are relatively new," said Melissa McKenna, a librarian on the first floor of the Carnegie, not far from where the zines are kept, "Public libraries and universities having collections of them and using them for research is very up and coming. This is one of our newer collections."

According to Ms. McKenna, zines are independently produced in limited numbers and tend to be very visual, "much like a graphic novel. …

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