I was very fortunate to be able to attend the Wellington Zinefest on the 21st of November. It was amazing to see how many stall holders were displaying their impressive collection of publications as well as the vast amounts of people coming through the door. In addition to the stalls there were workshops, talks, and collaborative zine making all day at Mighty Mighty, where the fest was held (as well as an after party at a local bar). There is no doubt that Wellington has a very strong community of self-publishers, and it was an incredible way of bringing them together to collaborate and discuss.
Zines in libraries are not a new thing, in fact zines have been around since the 1930’s and libraries in the U.S. have compiled very impressive collections of these little gems. Stephanie from Wellington City Libraries was particularly helpful with informing me about how they started their zine collection. Stephanie hooked into the fact that zines actually hold a great amount of local history content and was able to convince WCL to collect them. Because zines are self-published, low-fi, inexpensive small magazines to make they are a perfect avenue for self-expression. Zine-makers don’t have to worry about editors, funding, or institutions. Most zinesters do it for the love of making them and because they want to express their opinion/tips/information to their friends and others in the community. Zines hold a part of a cultural consciousness that is not seen in more pristine expensive publications. For these reasons, I have fallen in love with the format and think that we too should include zines into our collection. I have slowly started acquiring Canterbury zines and hope that we are able to integrate these into our collection as well. My first attempt to tap into the Zine culture in Christchurch was to organize the Zinefest at Central Library this year. Laura at New Brighton Library also held a zine making session with the kids out there. There has been great response to these events, showing that there is an interest in our city as well.