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College of the Atlantic - Thorndike Library

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What is a Zine?

Zines (pronounced ZEENS) are self-published booklets that typically have a small circulation. Made by hand, they are relatively cheap to make and easy to distribute with widely varying formats and content. Zines can be memoir, political tools, outreach and encouragement to others, they are the voice of marginalized communities, art, and as extensions do-it-yourself (DIY) culture and ethics; the possibilities are endless. 

As social artifacts, zines are valuable perspectives that enrich and inform us personally while providing critical texture and voice to wider cultural, political, and historical issues (and beyond). Zines are often important resources in understanding the entanglement of the personal and political.  They can be acts of courage, speak hard truths, ask difficult questions, interrogate social norms, and challenge default answers. Through their physicality, they offer an extended conversation with a wide community, one individual at a time.

Our Collection

The library collects a wide variety of zines that foster intellectual curiosity and discourse. The zine collection at College of the Atlantic is comprised of zines from individual donations, purchases from zine distributors, and purchases from individuals. All zines are reviewed by the library staff, cataloged, organized alphabetically by title, and made available for circulation.

Our collection started in the Spring of 2017 as a part of a senior project by Jasmine Bourgeois who studied the performative and socio-political function of zines.

The Thorndike zine collection can be browsed freely and circulated like other library materials.

Using Our Collection

Students, faculty, and staff are welcome to check out zines for personal or academic interest.

Zines CANNOT be scanned, copied, reprinted, or made digital under any circumstance. (Most) zines are copyrighted materials — if reproduction is required, permissions must be sought from the creator(s). While some zines are explicitly copyright free and encourage reproduction, it is generally best to treat zines like any other published material and assume there is a copyright that prohibits unauthorized reproduction.