Appropriately for International Zine Libraries Day, I’m gonna share my thoughts on the 6th Zine Librarian (un)Conference, which wrapped up on Saturday.
This weekend, I thought a lot about the cheeseball networking advice about finding your “tribe.” I’ve said before, zines aren’t a huge part of my job, and probably never will be, but zine librarians have helped me with all areas of my professional work. Just a sampling, off the top of my head: zine librarians have helped me prep for job interviews, grow through issues of pedagogy, talk out workplace conflicts, and think about whether I’d ever want to get into management. Forming these connections — over collections that we are all passionate about — has given me a network of colleagues at really different places in their careers, who do really different types of things. Like the GLBTRT, zine librarians are a cross-sampling of academic, public and barefoot librarians (folks at grassroots libraries, often without an MLIS), folks who do really different work. I’ll be honest — it is often easy for me to zone out when cataloging comes up, but I get so excited hearing my wise colleagues share their knowledge and move us closer towards building a union catalogue that will help researchers locate a zine across all kinds of institutions. Linked data isn’t really in my wheelhouse, but man, this will be amaaaaazing! It is an honor to get to work on projects with these folks whose expertise is So Different from mine.
Also, we get things done without getting too serious — our metadata standard is xZINECOREx for a reason. This weekend, when someone suggested creating a taskforce to work on our burgeoning code of ethics, I objected to the language…so it is a Fast Horse instead. (You can see the Zotero group for the lit review here.) Someone was dressed as the Goblin King all weekend, as part of the rewards for the Kickstarter campaign she used to fund her trip out to Durham.
Specifically, some of my favorite parts of this weekend were:
- Finally meeting my doppleganger — and amazing ZL(u)C organizer — Kelly Wooten, and getting to see zines from the Sallie Bingham Center.
- Hearing about the amaaaaaazing programming and outreach that my colleagues do. Lots of ideas to steal from papercutzinelibrary, like a One Pager Rager, an event where everyone brings one-page zines to trade. The opportunity to share programming and teaching ideas from archives to community organizations to public and academic libraries is priceless. I wish it happened more throughout libraryland.
- Starting to work on this code of ethics, and talking about the reasons why zines and zine libraries are weird and emotional and a place for us to declare our non-neutrality.
- Brainstorming lots of exciting things, including a review zine/zineography of sexual health zines (in part as a tool for working with sexual health educators, like I’ve done with folks in our student health unit).
- Reading my dorky zine out loud at the reading, and getting everyone in the bar to say “lististics” with me.
- Getting to hang out with old friends, and meet lots of new friends, too.
The ZL(u)C is always a lovefest — it’s hard to leave, like heading home from camp, but also just exciting to know that we’re building new things, too. If you have any interest in zines and libraries, please join us!
P.S. Don’t forget to treat your local zine librarian to a donut today, or at least stop in and read a zine or two at your local zine library. Shoutout to Monuts in Durham for the awesome treats we had on Saturday morning!