The library contains Glasgow’s first ever public space dedicated solely to zines and self-published literature. Apart from operating as a fully-functioning library, the space will also function as a community space hosting readings, zine workshops, writing groups, and screenings.
The wordzinecomes from fanzine,a term coined in 1940 to describe science fiction publications made by fans. The media form gained renewed popularity in the 1970s as a way for Punk fans to independently publish writing, interviews, and art about the music they loved. Since then, zines have become synonymous with youth culture turning its back to traditional media and opting for a more accessible and personal medium.
“I began to see that there is such a demand for community-based literacy and that there simply aren’t that many public spaces where we can spend leisure time free of charge,” LD Davis, director of Glasgow Zine Library, says to the Strathclyde Telegraph.
Davis is a long-time lover of libraries and collector of zines. She had already started the Glasgow Zine Festival when she was approached by an artist-run gallery in the Southside.
“Money is the hardest part of making anything happen,” she says. “You need a lot of it, and a lot of time, which money affords you.” Davis raised close to £2,000 off of crowd-funding alone. The library is currently run by volunteers, emphasizing the community aspect.
Zines have long been celebrated in Glasgow through small, independent bookshops such as Good Press, and organized festivities like the annual Glasgow Zine Fest. Institutions such as Glasgow Autonomous Space and Glasgow Women’s Library also feature zines in their archives.
“Glasgow has a rich history of DIY and artist-led spaces, and we’re hoping to add our own voice to that tradition,” adds Davis. “We also recognize that we’re located in the Gorbals, a historically under-served area of the city. We hope that by operating a space that has no hierarchy or expectation that people spend money, we can make people excited to make and share.”
Strathclyde student KC Crawford attended the opening party on 22 September. “We got to look at the collection, which was international, intersectional, and in really good condition,” says Crawford. “The place had an excellent atmosphere.”
Zines today cover anything from politics to music; comics to poetry; pop culture to personal essays. There is something for everyone. As Davis states about the library: “We welcome people to come visit, spend time, read, chat, have a cup of tea, make something, and leave feeling warm.”
Glasgow Zine Library is located at 16 Nicholson Street in the Gorbals. It is open Wednesday-Sunday between 11 am and 6 pm. Anyone interested in volunteering or in putting on an event with Glasgow Zine Library can email them at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By Emma Olsson