Teaching With Zines
Notes by Cassi
Moderated by Kelly

Issues with grading personal, creative expressions
Appropriate learning outcomes

Alternative to term papers—often making things in groups or alone
Professors are left on their own to figure out how to evaluate these new forms of learning expression
Wide gap of knowledge in how to evaluate these new forms: people don’t know how to evaluate non-traditional projects
IT doesn’t always go badly, but it’s a new project that doesn’t have clear evaluation guidelines

What would YOU like to hear?
Jude: Zines written for a class based on the women’s collection then become part of the women’s collection—woud like to offer support for teachers bringing students to the archive, including a possible rubric
Brittney: justify to others why zines can work in a classroom
Marya: use zine instruction to help anyone lessen the gap between ideas and publishing—lessen being self-conscious about self-creation
Cassi: use zines in bookmobile to help kids get excited not just about reading but also writing, and possibly including these productions in the bookmobile collection
Lisa: concern about collection issues (cataloging, etc). Just starting to think about how it would be used in teaching
Stephanie: curious about what is being done with zines and outreach—working with different groups to tie into her pop-up zine project. Also zines as DIY scholarship, taking ownership of knowledge and sharing it with each other
Colleen: classes come into ui special collections and make their own zines, supporting what professors what to do, but want to let professors know what their options are in this regard
Kelly: Learning to advocate for students in classes who are assigned zines in class
Matthew: looking for ways to make zines for his assignments in library school—has had assignments where the rubrics actually worsen the final project

How do you teach what a zine is? What is a zine? Is it anything?
Do you need a certain number of print runs to become a zine? 500 or less?
Economics are really important in zine making—it doesn’t require a big chunk of money

Let’s talk about teaching zines AND making zines
Stephanie made a zine and mini-zines (the mini-zine has a definition of what a zine is in the beginning) as outreach in her community
In a way we censor the answer about what zines are. It’s like a wave, sometimes it’s a wave, sometimes it’s something else. Depends on who you are talking to, who is in the room, what your end goal is.
Are mini-comics zines? Matthew says yes!
What’s the difference between a zine and an artist book? Does it matter?
Marya can’t call a chapbook a zine—resistant to putting chapbooks of poetry in the zine category. Poets want chapbooks to be considered zines, but they aren’t invested in the larger zine culture.
Format matters! Publishing, format, content. Fan fiction is not a zine, unless it’s published as such.
Jade: Weird conversation to have because zines are all about personal expression and inclusion, so definitions of what a zine is (esp excluding things) seem strange.
Transparency is really important, explaining the scope of your collection, your guidelines for your collection policy, and emphasizing that your specific collection has specific boundries that not all collections have to have.
Zines in ABQ tend to be very underground, people disavow zinemaking as though they have grown out of it, so Marya is trying to explain zines to other people without rigidly defining what it is
There can be a community definition—I didn’t make it, what do you think? You made it: do you think it’s a zine? “Asking an authority whether something is a zine is messed up.”
What is the artist’s intent? Did they want it to be a zine, or something else? A pamphlet? Do the production methods and distribution make something a zine even if that wasn’t the writer’s intent?
Doing outreach, a definition for “zine” is useful. You want people to feel good about what they are creating, even it if isn’t on the same level as more “professional” zines.
Pop-up zine project will take place in a laundry mat in a community with an artist school where people in the community all gather. There is definitely a link between what you decide you want in your collection and where your collection is going to go. Zines with shiny pages and bright colors can detract from the more basic zines and may discourage new creators from interacting in this format.
If I have the money to spend on creation, does it matter if I choose to spend it making a zine? Does that make it an elitist choice because I have access to certain programs and materials?
Tension between what is a zine and what isn’t is a good teaching point. “I like to show people the weirdest shit possible, from things that were made in 15 minutes and much more involved pieces, these can all be zines.” —Kelly
A goal of an instruction session can be for the group to come up with their own definition based on examples they are shown.
Zines tucked inside a bottle, made with corrugated covers and paint can handles.
“I like the idea of asking questions. I like me being responsible about the power that I have to collect them, but also asking other people what they think. More raising questions than trying to answer it.” —Jude
Information literacy in terms of how to understand the information object in front of you, but that’s not necessarily what their professor wants them to get out of their interaction with zines.
Learning objectives for working with zines? A rubric for how to grade zines? Use zines for something other than zines about zines?
Learning outcomes can be a little more inclusive than a rubric.
Link zines to access and wanting to communicate with people—could limit how you define zine

Outcome: learning is able to argue for characteristics than define a zine. (doesn’t matter what your definition is, just that you have one and can defend it)

It’s okay to have niche groups within the zine community.

“I don’t think about zines in terms of monetary gain or loss. If I have to make a copy of it, I’m loosing money, but I don’t care because I’m going to give that away. I don’t care if someone makes a glossy zine for 20 bucks, I might not buy it, but I don’t care if they make it.” —Marya

History zines from your own point of view. Things that happened in history that no one was looking at but that happened and were important. Betsy Coleman who was the first black woman to get a pilot’s license (in France) is an important person in history who we do not learn about.

Smallsciencezines.blogspot.com — use zines to teach information about a topic (in this case, science)

Great format for teaching yourself something. The intimacy of the zine—you’re always thinking about the person who made the zine.

Zines as a way for not just an individual to be a knowledge creator but also for a group who wants to think about something together and document their learning.

Seed library—people learning how to grow the plants and save the seeds could communicate about their experiences and things they’ve learned.

A zine with a CSA that goes out with the food that contains recipes that compliments the produce.

Zines reflect the WAY we think, and process ideas in a way that can get lost in our culture today.

Stolen Sharpie is in its 5th or 8th printing, but is it any less valuable/useful/important because there are so many copies and it costs more than $1?

Use zines to convey information literacy skills. You are handed a zine that contains information that says that it’s fact. How do you find out if information is true/accurate/”real”?

Awareness of format—mixed up page numbers on purpose, false citations, invented subject matter (review of a fake movie)

What do you do with the zines students make after the class is over? Is there a distribution plan?
Put into the library collection
Copy for each student of class zine
Put in the zine machine (in UI main library(
“Seek and zine”—3 bike riders get together and discover clues around town and make a mini zine together around town in 2 hours, copy it, and make it back home in the 2 hours—learn about the town they ride around downtown—Marya in ABQ
Trading—each student gets a copy of every other student’s zine (great way to get different perspective about the same topic)

Distribution is something missing from a research paper project—there is only one person reading your paper, where as the whole class can read everyone else’s work

“Swap Box”—leave a zine, take a zine