Research Guides


Zine Librarianship

Given the ephemeral nature of zines - small print-runs, low-budget production - they have not usually been included in traditional libraries and archives. Significant and innovative work has been done to establish a set of cataloging standards and other bibliographic infrastructure that helps to maintain the original spirit of the zine.

Code of Ethics - Guidelines towards the protection of creator rights, and promotes the role of librarians as "caretakers of these materials." 

Your Zine Tool Kit - An article by Jenna Freedman in Library Journal lays out the basics of zine librarianship. Informative and includes links to various resources. 

Zine Librarian Un-Conference - Annual conference about zine librarianship. 

Zine Union Catalog (ZUC) - The catalog "lets researchers discover zine holdings by searching a single catalog, and helps librarians copy catalog records to facilitate lending across libraries." This ongoing project is being spearheaded by students in the MALS Program at the Graduate Center.

Zine Thesaurus - For an example of how zine topics translate into more traditional Library of Congress (LOC) Subject Headings, this document lists categories and their LOC equivalents. 


Because zines are not typically carried by bookstores, a DIY (do-it-yourself) distribution system has also been part of their history. Since the advent of the internet, zines have been sold individually by their creators online - however, distros are still a popular way to obtain zines. Below is a selection, and be sure to also check out this list of distros across the world.

Brown Recluse Distro  - The distro was "created to support and center zines written by people of color. This project was born out of passion for zines and frustration at the lack of representation and meaningful zine material for POC." They welcome orders online or via "snail mail." 

Stranger Danger Distro - "Stranger Danger is a zine distro based out of Chicago that carries feminist zines, queer zines, trans zines, POC zines, & more — zines about identity, home, disabilities, friendship, survival, etc., etc."

Sweet Candy Distro - A 13-year old project that "has had physical homes in Georgia, Pennsylvania and now happily resides in Olympia, Washington." The distro offers over 200 zine titles, and is now involved in book publishing. 

DorisThe distro is run by Cindy Crabb, author of the long-running and popular Doris zine series. 

Pioneers Press - Founded in 2012, the small press and distro is based in rural Kansas. Rescue animals such as sheep, goats, ducks, and chickens, are tended by the collective and supported entirely by sales. 

Wheelhouse - Based out of Toronto, Canada, Wheelhouse aims to be an "art distro for the marginalized."

Vampire Sushi Zine Distro - Running since 2009, the distro is based out of Kent, UK.