Manchester Summer meetup

We are holding our next UIZL meetup in Manchester Saturday 27th  July 2019 12 – 4pm at Nexus Art Café, home to Salford Zine Library.

Salford Zine Library
Salford Zine Library

Our meetups are a chance to share ideas and resources, plan future events, and work collectively in an informal non academic/non-conference diy setting. Our meetups are open to anyone working with zine collections regardless of job title or professional status.

In our upcoming July meetup we hope to work on our collaborative zine cataloguing toolkit, share resources around funding, as well as taking a look round Salford Zine Library. More details around the event programme are coming soon.

How to book

UIZL were lucky recipients of the Arlis 50th anniversary event funding to help us make our next meetup as accessible as possible.

arlis new logo

Part of this fund will go towards venue hire costs, the remaining amount will be used to contribute towards travel costs/child care costs of anyone who would otherwise find it difficult to attend.

In order to gauge capacity and for us to make sure that the travel fund is allocated fairly we are asking everyone to register interest using this form

Please make sure to give us as much information about your travel needs and costs so that we can allocate funds fairly. As places are limited we are asking larger institutions to think about sending a representative from their teams to allow for attendees from other libraries and institutions to attend.

Once we have completed booking forms we will be allocating attendance and travel funds via email.

If you are interested in attending then please complete this form by Friday 31st May

Please note that by completing this form you aren’t booking a place.  You will receive an email confirming your booking once all forms are received.


Zine cataloguing workshop

A few of us will be attending the ARLIS conference in July next month to present a zine cataloguing workshop. Nicola Cook and Loesja Vigour from Wellcome Library, and Holly Callaghan from Tate Library will be representing UIZL in the first of what we hope is a series of workshops/discussions/meet-ups around zine cataloguing in the UK and Ireland.

In our last meetup we discussed our goal of creating a zine cataloguing toolkit for anyone to use which would be free of library cataloguing jargon and accessible to all regardless of job title or professional status.

Our workshop will be a chance to share our experiences of cataloguing zines, the ethics of zine cataloguing, and discuss our hopes and dreams for a collaborative toolkit.

And so we want to hear from you! We’d really like to hear what your fears, concerns, issues (and successes!) are around cataloguing your zines so we can incorporate them into the workshop. And if you are coming along to the conference and would like to be more involved, let us know – the more the merrier!

You can reply via our email discussion list, our twitter, or to our email

And there’s still a bit of time to contribute to our zine on cataloguing!


Contribute to the next issue of the UIZL zine

Calling all UK and Irish Zine Librarians!

We want your contributions for the next UIZL zine which is all about cataloguing.

UIZL zine

Our first zine was published over 2 years ago and featured a glimpse into the UK and Irish zine libraries landscape. As we discussed in the last London UIZL meet-up, we want  the next issue of our collective zine to focus on cataloguing.

Whether you currently catalogue or list zines in your library or not we want to hear from you. Tell us how and why you catalogue or don’t catalogue and contribute your stories to the next UIZL zine!

There are no right or wrong methods when it comes to zine librarianship, and by sharing our own stories and examples of cataloguing/listing zines we can find support, validation, and inspiration for maintaining our zine collections.


Want to contribute but not sure what you want to say? Here’s a few prompts to get started:

  • Give us the nitty gritty. Tell us how you catalogue or list zines in your library. Give us a step by step guide and tell us how readers can find out what zines are available in your libraries.
  • No staff or time to catalogue zines? Tell us about it, we can relate!
  • Do you use a library/records management system? Excel? How does this suit your collection/budget?
  • Not cataloguing or listing zines yet because you don’t know how? Tell us what you’d like to do and what advice you might need
  • Feel like banging your head against a wall when cataloguing manuals just don’t quite fit what zines are? What tips and tricks have you learned along the way or simply made up to fill that gap?
  • Do you use keywords or tags or subject headings to describe zines in your collection? How do you decide on these labels and can you give us any examples? Do you collaborate with zines makers to choose their own tags and labels?
  • For those struggling with Library of Congress subject headings tell us about the dream headings and keywords you would love to use but can’t.
  • Decolonise cataloguing! Queer those subject headings! No more acronyms!Tell us about the limitations of library cataloging manuals, systems, subject headings and what you would want to use instead.

We welcome contributions from everyone working with zine libraries and collections in the UK and Ireland regardless of job title, professional status, or qualification. This isn’t an academic journal. This will be produced as a zine so feel free to write in your own voice and style. You can submit writing, drawings, comics, images, anything you like.

We may edit for length or clarity but we won’t edit your words. However we will refuse any contributions featuring racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic, ableist and xenophobic content. 

Contributions can be sent as a word document with images attached for us to cut and paste together. Alternatively you can format your pages yourselves and send to us as pdfs to include.

All contributors will receive a free print copy of the zine.

Please send all contributions by 30th March 2018 to


Edinburgh Zine Library Opening

To celebrate the official opening of Edinburgh Zine Library this week, we have a blog post from Lilith, one of the founders of Edinburgh Zine Library.

Edinburgh Zine Library Poster (1) (1) (1)

The Edinburgh Zine Library is a reference library of contemporary zines housed in the Art and Design Library at the Edinburgh Central Library. It was established in August 2017 and will hold its opening event on November 1st.  Myself and my partner Abi were responsible for founding the library, and currently oversee all its organisation and activities.

Abi and I are partners both in the sense of being a couple and in that we work collaboratively together making zines and running the Edinburgh Zine Library. Although it’s sometimes a difficult dynamic to explain, it’s pretty useful in other ways – late night planning sessions are made easier when you share a flat, and since founding the library was great act of daring for both of us, it’s been important that we are able to easily provide each other with emotional, as well as practical, support.

Abi and I have made zines together since 2016, when we collaborated on a series of zines about menstrual hygiene. We moved to Edinburgh six months ago (Abi had lived here for four years when she was at university). Whilst doing some zine making at a local café, we overheard a conversation between a pair next to us and I recognised one of them from instagram as being the person who runs a local distro (@crispsshop). I waited for their friend to leave, turned and asked ‘Are you the person from Crisps Shop?’ and that was how we met Emily. Emily runs or participates in a significant amount of the zine-related activity in Edinburgh, and through them we got more involved in the community here – attending zine fairs and meeting other zine makers. We became aware that there was a growing desire for ways to bring this community together outside of commercial zine fairs, as well as a number of people who wanted to get more involved in zine making but didn’t know how. We were very aware that if we hadn’t so boldly accosted Emily with our own zines, it could have been months before we felt brave enough to email them about the distro.



There were other more involved reasons for wanting to set up a zine library. Amongst them is my own academic interest in social and narrative histories (particularly related to mental health and the survivor and service user movement) and my professional interest in zines as part of meaningful recovery work. The idea of a zine library came out of a desire to collect zines, and both archive them to preserve them for the future as well as make them accessible to people now – to diversify the stories we read, and so tell, about ourselves and others. On top of that, I wanted to increase the visibility of zines, as well as get people reading zines, and really celebrate them.

Once we decided to act on the idea, everything moved surprisingly fast. I emailed the Art and Design Library at the Central Library, because I liked the idea of the Zine Library being in a public building (although there are some great zine libraries in cafes/galleries/commercial buildings.) I received a quick reply from Bronwen Brown, the Library Development Leader for the Music and Art & Design Collections, who expressed an interest and arranged a meeting. We brought a project proposal and a folder of zines and Bronwen was super receptive, and through her questions helped us iron out the practicality of housing the Zine Library at the Central Library. After going away to discuss it with other staff, Bronwen gave us the green light and arranged for a filing cabinet to be brought up to the Art and Design Library. We had a zine library. We realised very quickly we were in well over our heads.



Neither Abi nor I had any experience with Libraries or Library Sciences. We are relying on the wealth of information online, and on the UK Zine Librarian Network, as well as the input of the Central Library and our growing membership to shape the Zine Library and the processes and policy that underpin cataloguing and our collection development policy. One of the things that had come out of our discussion with Bronwen was our intention to make use of Creative Commons Licenses, so it was clear to the Zine Library users what they could photograph/photocopy and use. We felt that these made the most of the cut and paste culture of zine making, whilst also respecting the diverse intentions of zine makers re. their original work. It also reassured the Central Library – it was a way of having more permissive copyrights which were clearly indicated and structured. To ascertain the copyright makers wanted for their work, we created a submissions process whereby zine makers donating their zines would need to fill in a google form (we also have paper copies). We are looking at reviewing this process which, like everything related to the EZL, is a work in progress.


Setting up and running a zine library is, in fact, quite a lot of work. Luckily, lots of people were keen to get stuck in. We started the library, it feels, at the crest of a wave of people and interest.  We ran an open meeting at the Library and arranged individual meetings with people who wanted to get involved. As we grow we intend to become completely collectively run, so Abi and I can step back a bit. At the moment, we have a core membership of eight people and are increasingly sharing responsibilities, although we continue to generally oversee things whilst we establish how roles are shared and how we all communicate with each other and with external organisations. This aspect has actually been the most challenging part of the library, as we have struggled to find information about establishing and running collectives (maybe eventually we should make a zine about our own experiences!). At the moment, we are trying to shape this future collective with written members agreements, safe space agreements, and more planning and social events. I am currently acting as a ‘Member Co-ordinator’ to be a single contact point for members, to offer support and help deal with any questions, issues or challenges, and help them get and stay involved. This role will probably continue as long E. Z. L does. We want, as much as possible, to be a place where people can do the things they want to do without necessarily having to have the formal knowledge or experience.


Whilst we have some ideas of how we would like EZL to grow in the future – including being involved in facilitating workshops with community groups in Edinburgh to write their own ‘histories’, acquiring funding to put money back into the zine-making community here and in the rest of Scotland by actively buying zines, running events in other libraries in the city, and holding zine fairs in the library – we are pretty open and flexible. We have lots of ideas, but no five-year plan (yet) and we want to be able to respond to opportunities as they arise and be involved actively and dynamically with the community around us. We have an opening event for the Zine Library, 4-7.30pm, on Wednesday 1st November at the Art and Design Library where we will be facilitating some workshops as well as making a 24hr collaborative zine, running a zine swap and holding some talks and readings. We hope it will be a great opportunity to get the word out about the library, get more people involved, increase submissions and celebrate zines and zine making in the city.

One of the major challenges for us is the accessibility of the library building – unfortunately, like much of Edinburgh, the Art and Design Library is not wheelchair accessible and even if you take the lift to the top floor, there is still a staircase of twenty steps down to the library. At the moment, we are piloting having a request box where library users who need level access can ask in advance for any or all zines to be brought down to a reading point on the ground floor. It’s not ideal, but it’s a temporary solution. We will continue to work to improve the accessibility of the library, including considering relocation if necessary (hopefully within the Central Library).

One of the reasons I love zines is how easy they are to make. You don’t need to know anything, you don’t need to have gone to art school, it doesn’t have to cost a lot. For a long time, a lot of my creative interests and pursuits were paralysed by perfectionism, and by feeling not good enough, not valid or legitimate. Zines were great because they could be unpolished, unfinished, made over the course of a year or an afternoon. They could be driven by their content, or by the form they took. And there was never any point comparing them to other people’s.

We have taken the same approach to the zine library as we do with zine making. Rather than worrying about not being legitimate librarians, or doing it right or perfectly, we are learning as we go. I’m a big fan of Brene Brown’s TED talks about shame and vulnerability. With the zine library, we hold to the principle of ‘daring greatly’. It puts us in unfamiliar, often scary, positions where we feel out of our depth. Some people might accuse us of running (a zine library) before we could walk. But we persevere because we believe in what we’re doing, that anyone can do it and that great things can happen when you put yourself out there. Today we picked up 11 beautiful zines from the submissions box, donated by a Glasgow artist, and felt overwhelmed by the kindness, generosity and feeling of being part of a community. And, at the end of the day, right now there are 60 zines in the central library in Edinburgh that weren’t there before, that anyone can go in and read; this wouldn’t have happened without us asking, and without the response, and the amazing support, interest and enthusiasm, of Bronwen Brown and staff at the Central Library.

edinburghzinelibrary-opening2 (1) (1)

We’re trying to build a collective, an organisation and a library, that’s flexible, open, and accessible – that reflects zines and the people who make them. Rather than trying to legitimise zines by showing how like books they are, we are proclaiming them as legitimate as they are, on their own terms. Rather than trying to impersonate a traditional, ‘actual’, library, we are trying to forge our own space. That’s certainly what I see zines as doing, now and historically: forging and holding space for knowledges, voices and experiences that don’t fit in dominant narratives or dominant knowledges. In many ways its lucky that we are starting from square one as, ultimately, it means we are trying to build our library around zines, rather than fit zines into a library.

To find out more about Edinburgh zine collection, including how to submit a zine or get involved here.

You can also keep up to date by following on facebook, instagram, and twitter.



London October meetup

Our next UK and Ireland Zine Librarians meetup will be in London at Tate Britain, Thursday 5th October 1-5pm. Book your place now

Zine meetup

Our London meetup is a chance to meet other people working with zine collections and chat about collecting, cataloguing, storing, and providing access to zines.

In the weeks leading up we’ll start to gather a list of possible topics for discussion via our JISC discussions list If there’s anything you want raising at the meeting, or if you want to present something on the day then get in touch either via the discussion list or our contact pages and we can create an agenda together.

This will be quite an informal meetup and is open to anyone working with zine libraries and collections regardless of qualification, job title, professional status, or type of zine collection

We’ll be meeting at the Clore Studio at Tate Britain from 1pm which is on the first floor,  to the left of the Rachel Whiteread exhibition. Lifts are are available and if you need any assistance or directions to the Clore Studio on the day then please ask at the main ticketing and information desk.