International Zine Month ’13 (IZM13) coincides, IMO, with the first real British summer in seven years. The last time it was THIS hot, I was an MA student living above Iceland supermarket in New Cross – no joke. That year was also the first time I read Stuart Hall’s Representation for an essay assignment and since then, it pretty much changed the way I see the world. So it’s nice to finally pay a visit to a library founded in his namesake.
Sonia Hope initiated a zine collection at the Stuart Hall Library three years ago, and has since been populating it with a steady stream of donations from both strangers and friends in zine networks. You can listen to an audio recording of the collection’s launch event here. It’s now grown to house about 300 zines that are fully catalogued and searchable. And perhaps echoing Hall’s political projects and struggles, the collection does feature a healthy number of zines that engage lively with issues of race, gender, class, human rights from places like Canada, Australia, UK and USA; these include Race Revolt, Reassess Your Weapons, Gross Indecency, Shotgun Seamstress and Love like Pop.
Personally, I am also glad to see libraries all over the UK are starting to archive and maintain zines for public access and building a great resource for future others to build on. According to an essay in the Design Observer, the movement of zines into library discourse is also happening in the States. Maintaining archives and libraries is hard work and I think they need to be supported.
Stuart Hall Library’s zine collection is making an outing for IZM13: they’ll be on display for the rest of July so it’s not too late to pop down to take a look, say hi to Sonia, or even better, donate a zine to them!