Skip to main content

Developing and raising awareness of the zine collections at the British Library

  • Debbie Cox (a1)

This article presents a practice-based account of collection development related to zines in the British Library. Rather than making the case for the collecting of zines, it aims to describe the process of collection building in a specific time and place, so that researchers have a better understanding of why certain resources are offered to them and others are not, and to share experiences with other librarians with zine collections. Zines form an element of the cultural memory of activists and cultural creators, and for researchers studying them it would seem useful to make transparent the motivations, methods and limitations of collection building. Librarians in the USA have written about their collecting practices for some time, for instance at Barnard College1 and New York Public Library2, there has been less written about the practices of UK libraries. The article aims to make a contribution as a case study alongside accounts of collection development in a range of other libraries with zine collections, and it is written primarily from my own perspective as a curator in Contemporary British Collections since 2015, focusing on current practice, with some reference to earlier collecting.

Hide All

1. Jenna Freedman, “Your zine tool: a DIY collection”, Library Journal, June 15, 2006

2. Gisonny, Karen and Freedman, Jenna, “Zines in libraries: how, what and why?”, Collection Building, 25:1 (2006), 2630

3. Red Chidgey, Reassess Your Weapons: the making of feminist memory in young women's zines. Women's History Review, 22:4, 662

4. Jen Kavanagh and Debbie Cox, Nick Mann's ‘A Short Fanzine about Rocking’ takes its rightful place in the British Library, 3 November 2015

5. Paul Davies and Debbie Cox, Punk fanzine ‘Oh Cardiff… Up Yours!’ donated to the Library. 24 May 2016

6. Michael Nicholson, Drawing, Not Drowning: The ‘bio auto graphic’ series. 21 July 2017

7. Debbie Cox, Zines resurgent. 31 July 2016

8. Fearghus Roulston, Zine but not heard: printed ephemera and research. 21 July 2016.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Art Libraries Journal
  • ISSN: 0307-4722
  • EISSN: 2059-7525
  • URL: /core/journals/art-libraries-journal
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed