Have you heard about the new Chattanooga Zine Library? It is a joint project with The 4th Floor and University of Tennessee Assistant Professor of Graphic Design, Aggie Toppins. We launched the library on May 10 during the first-ever Chattanooga ZineFest.
Zines are small runs of self published books, magazines and pamphlets made by anyone about anything. Chances are you've seen one in an old record store or used book store. Most older zines have a particular photocopier aesthetic, maybe featuring typewritten or hand lettered text. They can be small often bold expressions of the author/artist/editor's observations, obsessions and opinions.
Or they can be about nothing at all.
During ZineFest we hosted more than 30 vendors who came to sell and trade zines. Several artists and authors read from their zines during Zine Karaoke. And the many zine making stations around the room were busy all day with experienced and beginner zinesters cranking out new editions. Be sure to visit the library's zine making lab now on the 4th Floor right next to the Zine Library and reading lounge.
About the new ZIne Library
Our new collection of zines in the CZL features the best newly published zines we could find from across the country and the UK. Aggie was the chief curator of this fantastic new library and she has made such excellent selections. There are some really wonderful editions being put out right now and we are psyched about what we're seeing: beautiful printing, lovely textured pages, hand stitched and sewn bindings. Lovely original works. Plus, thanks to the generosity of local and regional private collectors and galleries, we have amassed quite the collection of vintage punk zines and really cool political and personal zines. From radical and raunchy to tender and touching.
There are a few culturally significant zines in our collection as well. These include several volumes of the renowned Factsheet Five, featuring literally thousands of reviews of other self published indy rags. The sheer depth of content in each edition made it the most important publication in its field during the 80's and 90's, heralding the wider spread of what would eventually be called fanzine or zine culture (per wiki).
Right now zines are only available to enjoy inside the library and are not available to check out and take home. We've tried to make the reading lounge cool and comfortable so you'll want to hang out with some zines for awhile enjoying a coffee from Shush or just losing track of time in zineland.
If all of this excites you as much as it does us, please plan to hang out and help stoke the zine culture in Chattanooga. We'll be making announcements soon about our plans to enlist passionate zine fans and zine makers to help crowdsource the enormous (read: exciting!) cataloging job we have in front of us. But fear not, we plan to have A LOT of fun doing it. For instance, you might be asked to join us at a local watering hole, read a few zines and write a few sentences about the zines you've read. Your description / review will be entered into an online searchable catalog or wiki that will help us make this fantastic collection a digital archive as well.