A collection of self-published magazines, or zines, found a roost on the third floor of the Community Building last week. With a collection of 150 titles, the Bird’s Nest Zine Library is Spokane’s only zine lending library.
The library was started by two Spokane women, Lindsae Williams and Allynn Carpenter. Both had their own zine collections, which are the foundation of the Bird’s Nest library. The library is free and run by volunteers.
Most Spokane zines are produced in isolation, and until now there has not been a central repository, said Mimi Marinucci, a zine writer and Eastern Washington professor of philosophy and women’s and gender studies. Marinucci said she has encountered a wide variety of people who produce zines, including her students.
“If there were a central place zines could be housed, the number would be huge,” she said.
Borrowers at the library can check out up to three zines a week, on topics ranging from feminism to riding public transportation to anarchism.
“The collection is a window into a number of topics. It brings together a lot of good ideas,” said Williams.
One of her favorite zines is “Bamboo Girl,” a feminist zine from the perspective of Asian women.
Zines exist in numerous forms, Williams said: The copy may be stapled or more elaborate, featuring artwork and pictures.
Marinucci said a centralized zine library could encourage producers to trade ideas, similar to artists’ or writers’ communities. Marinucci’s zine is called “Wave 2.5,” which refers to a midpoint between second- and third-wave feminism. Her zine focuses on consumerism, capitalism and women’s bodies, she said. She usually creates 200 copies of her zine and does all of the printing, folding and cutting at her home.
She said zine production provides the ultimate in artistic control.
“Anybody who publishes a zine is making a statement about who they want to have access to their work,” she said.
Some zine producers choose to do online work in addition to producing print copies. Marinucci said she decided early on that she wanted to produce a zine readers could touch. The print form also acknowledges a lack of access to the Internet for some consumers, she said.
Some zines have circulated in Spokane in the past, but not consistently. Merlyn’s on West Main Avenue, a science fiction fantasy shop that carries mostly collectibles, comics and role-playing games, periodically carried zines. They were very popular in the ’70s and ’80s, said owner John Waite.
He attributes to the Internet the decline in the number of zines produced.
“A lot of creative energy used for zines before has gone into the Internet. Now people do blogs.”