The University of Texas Libraries has zine collections in three different sites across campus: the Fine Arts Library, the Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection, and the UT Poetry Center at the Perry-Castañeda Library. Though all three sites have a unique history with DIY publications, they all share a dedication to honoring this medium as a form of cultural production that deserves serious academic attention and long-term preservation.
Select covers of zines held by the UT Libraries
The Fine Arts Library (FAL) started collecting zines in 2012. These zines represent a wide range of subcultures, viewpoints, hobbies, artistic practices, and activist movements. There is an emphasis on zines related to music, art and creative writing, and we try to include the work of local and regional zinesters. This collection continues to grow through selected purchases at local zine fests, through artists' online stores, zine distros, and donations.
The Fine Arts Library's zines are on the 5th Floor and available for browsing! If you would like to see them in person, simply ask the staff at the Check Out Desk for directions to the Zine section. Certain rare and unique zines are in FAL special collections. To make an appointment to view special collections items, please contact Tina Tran, the Visual Art Librarian: firstname.lastname@example.org
The Nettie Lee Benson Latin American Collection has long expressed a commitment to preserving popular culture through small press and DIY publications from across Latin America and the United States that include Caribbean graphic novels, Brazilian cordeles, Argentine chapbooks, and cartoneras.
Of particular note is a small but growing collection of U.S. Latinx zines and graphic novels that have been purchased since 2017 from zine fests in Austin, Albuquerque, San Antonio, and New York City as well as online. Additionally, the Benson is the official repository for the Puro Chingón Collective, a local art collective which regularly publishes their own zine. All of these items, and more, can be accessed in the Rare Books and Manuscripts Reading Room on the east side of campus. Learn more about the Benson Collection's Rare Books and Manuscripts, including instructions for setting up a research visit.
In 1965, poet and artist Ruth Stephan gave an endowment to UT for a landmark poetry collection. (She even gave books from her personal collection!) In 2014, the UT Libraries opened the UT Poetry Center as a home for the Ruth Stephan Poetry Collection. It has a wealth of poetry chapbooks and creative writing zines, some published as far back as the 1950s. In particular, the collection includes handmade and staple-bound chapbooks published locally in Austin and other parts of Texas. Most of these were published in short runs, making them ephemeral and rare. Some are entirely unique to the UT Libraries and aren’t held by any other library! These chapbooks and creative writing zines are available for browsing at the Perry-Castañeda Library's UFCU Room (PCL 2.500) on the main floor.
Learn more about the history of our zine collections via the UT Libraries' blog, TexLibris!
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