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What we do, is (still) secret? Collection, care and accessibility of zines in UK collections

  • Siobhan Britton (a1)

In 2013, as the dissertation component of an MA Library and Information Studies course at University College London, I carried out a selective study of UK zine libraries and collections. Case studies of both ‘institutional’ collections that were part of established libraries like London College of Communication Library (University of the Arts London) and the British Library, and ‘independent’ collections such as Salford Zine Library, 56a Infoshop and the Edinburgh Fanzine archive were carried out to draw attention to issues around collection, care and accessibility of zine collections. As much of the literature around zine collections in libraries at that time was focused on the USA, it was important to draw attention to what was happening in the UK. This article summarizes the findings of my dissertation, and the developments in zine libraries and librarianship since I wrote it, as zine collections have become more popular and a growing field in the UK.

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1. Siobhan Britton, “What we do is secret? A study of issues relating to the collection, care, and accessibility of zines in institutional and alternative collections in the UK” (MA Diss., University College London, 2013)

2. Britton, 6

3. Dilevko, Juris, “An Alternative Vision of Librarianship: James Danky and the Sociocultural Politics of Collection Development.” Library Trends 56, no. 3 (2008): 267

4. Britton, 18

5. Britton, 18, 28

6. Britton, 35

7. Britton, 30

8. Britton, 36

9. ‘Hidden Collections Report,’ Research Libraries UK, accessed 18th December, 2017,

10. Tom Maher, email message with author, 15th March 2017

11. Britton, 67

12. Britton, 37

13. Britton, 37

14. Britton, 37

15. Chidgey, Red, “The Resisting Subject: Per-zines as life story data.” University of Sussex Journal of Contemporary History 10 (2006): 6

16. Britton, 38

17. Britton, 67

18. Lymn, Jessie, “The Librarian-as-Insider-Ethnographer.” Journal of Library Innovation 4, no. 1 (2013): 2

20. Tkach, David and Hank, Carolyn. “Before Blogs, there were Zines: Berman, Danky, and the Political Case for Zine Collecting in North American Academic Libraries.” Serials Review 40, no. 1 (2014): 12-20.

21. ‘Manchester Metropolitan University to house new zine collection,’ Manchester Metropolitan University, accessed 18th December 2017

22. ‘Zine Library,’ Glasgow School of Art, accessed 18th December, 2017

23. UK and Ireland Zine Librarians Blog, accessed 18th December, 2017

24. ‘Regeneration? Gentrification?,’ Southwark Notes- Whose Regeneration?, accessed 18th December, 2017

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Art Libraries Journal
  • ISSN: 0307-4722
  • EISSN: 2059-7525
  • URL: /core/journals/art-libraries-journal
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