The Women's Library

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The Women's Library, UK, Zine Collection

The Women's Library continues to document the development of feminism in the UK, and many examples of '3rd wave' activity can be found within our Zine Collection. The Zine Collection began with a donation of 50 zines by Ladyfest London in 2002. This Collection comprises self-published magazines reflecting contemporary feminism and the attitudes and concerns of young women in the UK today. It currently includes over 300 catalogued zines, on topics ranging from music, feminism, art, fashion, food, politics, sexuality, gender, ethnicity, popular culture, travelling, relationships, parenting and much more. The Women's Library aims to collect and preserve women's zines from the 1970s to the present day.

Women's Zines

Traditionally, zine cultures are dominated by young men. However, the 'girl zine movement' of the early 1990s saw many young women and girls explore their experiences and voices within zines for the first time; inspired by the rise of the feminist and personal zines of the Riot Grrrl movement.

Young women make zines for a number of reasons: to explore their creativity, to make friends, to overcome isolation, and to think critically about the world around them. They blur genre boundaries by mixing together stories, essays, photography, rants, collages, lists, doodles, reviews, diary entries, and autobiographical confessions. The small print runs and eclectic nature of the publications lend themselves to grassroots feminist activism and are suited to events such as Ladyfest.

Zines are historical primary sources documenting women's everyday lives and cultural opinions. Zines are also a key tool in analysing 'third wave feminism', as young women explore their self-identities and redefine feminism in these publications.

Collecting

The Women's Library actively collects zines and comics which reflect women and girls' experiences, interests and concerns in the UK today.

This collection began with a donation of 50 zines by Ladyfest London in 2002. Subsequently several 'zine fests' were held at The Women's Library with attendees donating their zines to the Library. Zines have been collected by word of mouth, at feminist events and fairs either where TWL attended or where Friends of the Library collected material on behalf of the Library. Donations are also given directly to the Library. As at 2009 this was a very active area of collecting, with approx 100+ additional zines deposited in Jan 2009 at the TWL zine-fest.

Contact Us

Please see our website The Women's Library for more details

Access

You can come and see our zines in our Reading Room, Please see our website for details of opening hours and how to register as a reader. Our Zines are catalogued as part of our Printed Collections, but a list can be found by searching for Subject = Zines


Further Reading and Links

  • Buszek, Maria Elena. Pin-Up grrrls: feminism, sexuality, popular culture. Durham: Duke University Press, 2006. Reading Room 760.04428 BUS
  • Sabin, Roger and Teal Triggs (eds). Below critical radar: fanzines and alternative comics from 1976 to now. Hove: Slab-O-Concrete, 2000. Reading Room 070.444 BEL
  • Todd, Mark. Whatcha mean, what's a zine? the art of making zines and mini comics; with contributions by more than 20 creators of indie comics and magazines. Boston, Mass.: Graphia, 2006. Reading Room 070.5 TOB
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