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It’s October which means it’s once again our favorite time of year: Archives Month. To celebrate Virginia Archives Month this year, archival institutions across the state are highlighting zines and self-published material in order to stress the truth that “Archives Are Community Made.”

Archives are made up of the material and records generated from the activities of individuals, groups, businesses, and government agencies, such as letters, diaries, reports, photographs, minute books, and audio recordings. An archive should therefore reflect the community they serve.

Zines and self-published material like newsletters, pamphlets, or other small circulation items are the epitome of the community representation. You can check out some examples of these kind of publications through the library catalog including: Skinny, Crow, Civilian Conservation Corps Newsletters, Our Own Community Press, Throttle. Whether created by an individual or a small group, zines and self-published material are by definition made by and for a community.

While zines are an interesting medium for archives to collect, archives can also serve zine makers (or zinester). Archives contain all sorts of material that can spark creativity. From images found in ephemera and photograph collections, to vintage fonts found in business records and yearbooks, archives can act as centers for artistic inspiration. Visit the Archives Month Flickr page to browse material from various Virginia Archival institutions that could serve as content for your next project.

In the spirit of our theme this year, check out the below zines that further explain information about zines, archives, and archives month!

What is a Zine?

To learn more about zine history and zine making, visit the Library of Virginia’s Zines and Self-Published Material Guide. This guide provides a brief history of zines as well as where to find collections of zines across the state of Virginia. The guide even contains a “Make your own Section” which contains ideas for zine topics, supply suggestions, templates, and copy right guidance.

What is an Archive?

Explaining to people what an archive is and what archivists do is an ongoing effort. This is why Virginia Archive Month committee members created this zine to explain the basics. Take a look! You can download your own copy on the Virginia Archives Month 2023 webpage.

What is Archives Month?

Archives Month is an important time for institutions and individuals that help preserve and make accessible the important records of our actions as individuals, businesses, religious groups, government and society.  Learn more about the importance of Archives Month through the zine below and visit the Virginia Archives Month webpage to learn about how the Library of Virginia and institutions across the state are celebrating Archives Month.


Archives Month Events:

October 7th : Archives Month Table at Richmond Zine Fest

After a three-year hiatus Richmond Zine Fest is returning this year and Virginia Archives Month has a table. Members from various Virginia archival institutions will be handling out “Archives 101” zines and talking to attendees about archives, where people can find collections of zines, and how archives can be used to inspire zine creation.

October 12th: Make a Zine for Archives Month

Make your own zine for Archives Month! Join us for a family friendly virtual event and learn three zine-folding techniques from Jen Thomas, Book Arts Program director at the University of Richmond. You will then select a zine format and make your own! Select from a list of provided prompts or pick your own topic to explore.

Zine-making packets, which include preprinted reproductions of archival images, glue sticks and wooden craft sticks for folding, are available for pickup starting Oct. 3 at the following locations: Library of Virginia (800 E. Broad Street, Richmond, VA) and the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts Library, located on the first floor of the VMFA (200 N Arthur Ashe Blvd, Richmond, VA). The packets are not required; you’re welcome to print your own images for collage, draw or doodle, and use any additional craft supplies. We’ll conclude with a show-and-tell of your zine creations!

October 21st : Library Tour and Zine Making

Celebrate LGBTQ+ History Month and Archives Month in Virginia. Take a tour of the Library highlighting LGBTQ+ materials in our collections and learn about the important role of government archives in actively preserving and making accessible the records of our civic actions. Then learn about the history of zines and use reproduction collection materials and information from the tour to create your very own zine—a booklet created, written and designed by you! This program is offered at both 12:00 and 2:00 p.m.

October 24th: Zines from the Pandemic and Beyond: Strategies for Archives

Zine-making took on a renewed urgency with the COVID-19 pandemic, as people sought new ways to share and access specialized health information, agitate for social change, and engage in restorative play. Using zines and other self-published materials from VCU Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives, this session will explore how self-publishing strategies in the U.S. have transformed since the late 20th century. We will also examine approaches to teaching with zines and consider the potential of archives as sites of zine production.

Header image Citation

PS Magazine, World’s Best Equipment, Courtesy of VCU Libraries Special Collections and Archives

Mary Ann Mason, They/Them

Local Records Archivist

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