Pronounced like magazine—without the mag—zines are self-published, independently made, usually photocopied, and have a small print run.
Several Zines are now available at the Los Angeles Public Library. There is also a Zine Club, run through the library, that meets online every other Monday at 4 p.m. and will resume on January 9.
Members chat and share inspiration for projects. They discuss zines they’re working on, and zines they like. Zine content can be personal, political, niche, artistic, visual—there are no rules.
Zines rose to prominence in the 70s, but one could argue that they have been around since the invention of Johannes Gutenberg’s printing press in 1439. Go to lapl.org/palisades to register for the Zoom link.
Kelli Callis, who can be found on Facebook and Instagram as ThatGirlZine, was interviewed for the Library about Zines.
She said that when she was in college, she met some girls who were musicians but who also made their own stickers and published their own zines.
“I didn’t know what a zine was, but these girls wrote about their personal lives and their opinions and then copied them on copy machines and gave them to their friends,” Callis said. “I really wanted to learn how to play drums but making a zine was much easier and more immediate. I had already written short stories when I was younger, so writing came easily to me. I started my zine then in 1993, my freshman year of college.”
Zines are now in the library collection for patrons to borrow and Callis said, “I think that’s really exciting because that means my work can reach a wider audience and be read by people who are outside the normal realm of zine readers. I feel like only selling zines on Etsy has limited my audience considerably. It’s also kinda trippy since when you sell zines, you get the reader’s address, mostly, and usually, they aren’t local, so it’s weird to think some dude in Chatsworth can just check out the zine and read all about my life, and I have no idea he’s doing it.”
Callis said that she thinks zines are important because they allow anyone to publish their thoughts to the world without intermediaries such as editors or publishers. “It’s exciting that anyone with the gumption can just make a piece of literature with a glue stick or printer.”