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Field Trip to the VCU Zine Library in Richmond, VA

October 11, 2012


Zine libraries are improbable things — permanent collections of material that is often intended to travel, to be passed around from hand to hand.  They’re also a fascinating and important resource, and if you have a zine library in your town or city you should stop by for an hour or two just to see the wealth and variety of self-made publications you never knew existed.

The day before the Richmond Zine Fest earlier this month, we stopped in to check out the Special Collections and Archives at the Virginia Commonwealth University Library.  In addition to leafing through boxes of great zines we would have otherwise missed, we were given a grand tour by librarians Leila Prasertwaitaya and Celina Williams (also an organizer of the RZF).

For those of you who are too far from Richmond for a casual visit, here’s a tour of the VCU Library Special Collections.


^ Our guides Leila and Celina.


^ This was the original wallpaper throughout the building when the library was built in the 1970s.  Today it survives only in small, tucked-away areas.


^ A sword that was donated to the library for reasons unknown.




^ Collection boxes biding their time until they are filled with zines.


^ In addition to zines, they’ve got lots of comics, Virginia state records, and copies of Out magazine from the late ’80s.


There are a few rolled-up book covers laying around, including this beautiful example from the book Out of Sight: The Rise of African American Popular Music, 1889-1895.



Flipping through the H-J box.



^ A special exhibit featuring the works of Aijung Kim, a Richmond-based artist and Brooklyn Zine Fest 2012 exhibitor.


^ The staple-scars on a nearby post showing years of flyering.  That’s not even the wood under there — it’s about a quarter inch of accumulated, packed paper pulp.

All photos by Matt Carman.


Check out more photos of the Richmond Zine Fest 2012.



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