Library Juice 5:6 Supplement, February 14, 2002



By Jason Kucsma

As I began to work my way through graduate school, it became clear to me
that the contemporary underground press represented something special that
deserved the scrutinizing and celebratory attention of academic rigor. I
knew there had been little work done examining this underground medium as
a site for cultural negotiation (and thus worthy of academic
interrogation). However, I still felt that these independent magazines
needed to be examined and documented as evidence of autonomous cultural
creation in the midst of an American culture that privileges passive
consumption over active participation. In order for these magazines to be
available for scrutiny, they need to be preserved and made accessible for
future generations of scholars and enthusiasts. The responsibility for
such collection and preservation rests, as I will discuss in the following
chapter, on the shoulders of the academic library. Only a handful of
libraries have been working to preserve zines for future research, and
even less academic documentation of these cultural creations has been
done. I think it is imperative that we try to preserve and study zines as
evidence of cultural resistance in a time when most progressive activism
seems to be in the midst of a post-1960's identity crisis. With this in
mind, I suggest that zines, in addition to being a form of media created
by individuals instead of corporations, are actually valuable evidence of
progressive political thought and action. As such, libraries (especially
special collections) should be concerned with documenting zines before
their ephemeral nature renders them extinct.

Underground publishers may argue that the collection of zines in a
state-sponsored institution such as the library is antithetical to the
impetus behind publishing zines. After all, if a zine seeks to challenge
the assumptions of dominant American culture and politics, why would zine
writers want their creations included in the dark vaults of the academy or
on the shelves of public libraries - in the belly of the beast, so to
speak? While the latter of these two seems less contradictory since
access to zines in a public library would increase the readership of a
given zine, the question of why we should encourage libraries to collect
zines still remains. Are there not independent libraries and info-shops
that are already collecting zines for the purpose of archiving zines and
making them accessible to the public? The answer is yes, but the
ultimate longevity of such libraries is often uncertain. Due to a lack
of financial capital, adequate space or a sound method of organization,
many of these libraries and info-shops suffer from a lack of organization
or they are faced with the imminent threat of closure - making them less
than reliable sources for anyone seeking to find more information about
zines. The problems that plague these independent ventures are less of a
threat to libraries as institutions with funding, established space for
their collections and well-researched methods of organizing large bodies
of printed material. It is important that independent publishers develop
relationships with libraries so that they may take advantage of the
resources available there while also mutually benefiting the library in
its quest to live up to its role in American society.

Opinions about the role that the library serves in our society are as
diverse as the people that the libraries aim to serve. In an attempt to
unify the vision of the library's responsibility to the public as we
approach the twenty-first century, The White House Conference on Library
and Information Services produced a list of ninety-five recommendations
for America's libraries. In addition to the general recommendations for a
reiteration of (or in some cases an initiation of) the library as an
example of democratic inclusion in respects to collections and service to
the public, the conference offered a few prioritized recommendations. One
such recommendation focused on the development of collections, suggesting
that "libraries must have collections development policies which provide
universal access to all forms of information and materials by meeting the
diverse needs of users including, but not limited to, language and
cultural background differences" (39). Expanding the scope of collections
was also supported by a recommendation for increased attention to the
preservation of information for future use. In it, the conference urged
libraries to ensure "the nationwide preservation of information resources
through the implementation of preservation training programs, utilization
of non-paper media, and the development of new technologies and
procedures" (53).

Almost fifty years before the White House Conference on Library and
Information Services made its recommendations, the American Library
Association (ALA) Council affirmed that libraries "are forums for
information and ideas" by adopting six basic policies collectively
recognized as the _Library Bill of Rights_. We can, and should, read the
_Library Bill of Rights_ as we would the United States Constitution. Not
only is the _Library Bill of Rights_ an articulation of the rights of the
library as an institution, but we can also assume these rights to be
responsibilities extended to the library by the American Library
Association as an institution as well as the individuals involved in
upholding that institution. The first of these rights/responsibilities
clearly defines that "books and other library resources should be provided
for the interest, information, and enlightenment of all people of the
community the library serves." Not only do we expect to find all
materials that are useful to a local community, but we also expect that
"materials should not be excluded because of origin, background or views
of those contributing to their creation." The _Library Bill of Rights_
has guaranteed the right/responsibility to provide materials representing
all points of view but it is also obligated to "challenge censorship
(and) cooperate with all persons and groups concerned with resisting
abridgment of free expression and free access to ideas."

In addition to the _Library Bill of Rights_, an American Library
Association _Code of Ethics_ was adopted in June of 1995 to publicly
articulate the beliefs and values that ALA is dedicated to preserving and
practicing. _The Code of Ethics_ came out of recognition for the need to
ethically reconcile the power inherent in the library as the primary
collector and disseminator of information in the United States. The
general statements included in the _Code of Ethics_ focus primarily on the
intention to "uphold the principle of intellectual freedom and resist all
efforts to censor library resources." Also, the _Code of Ethics_ strongly
denounces the "advancement of private interests" and distinguishes
"between personal convictions and professional duties."

Tucked within these general statements regarding the library as an
institution lies the heart of the library's purpose. At the most
fundamental level, the library, dedicated to the freedom of expression and
the preservation of those forms of expression, is a facilitator of
education. In 1937, Randolph Adams claimed the librarian is essentially
an "administrative official and promoter of adult education" (319), and
the same holds true today. Similar to Adams' sentiments, B. Lee Cooper
states, in his forward to Frank Hoffman's _Popular Culture and Libraries_,
that "dedication to the expansion of intellectual horizons, rather than
the perpetuation of any single orthodoxy is the cornerstone of
librarianship"(viii). Cooper also states that librarians are champions of
"accumulating, organizing, preserving and circulating /all/ forms of
information and making it available to /all/ patrons" (viii). Whether
providing popular materials for a public library or specific volumes for
research purposes in an academic library, the library holds the key to
understanding cultures of the past, present and future. As Jennifer Tebbe
mentions, "what a society writes, publishes and reads is a guide to its
culture" (259). The holdings in a library are essentially a record of
culture. When those holdings are incomplete, the library consequently
presents an incomplete view of society and through its incompleteness,
relegates certain aspects to the historical and cultural margins.
According to the Bill of Rights and the Code of Ethics, we have seen how
such deliberate exclusion is undesirable for libraries, but what can be
done to help ensure libraries acquire and maintain more complete

Words like "all" and "every" in reference to information and library
patrons surely set the library up against seemingly insurmountable odds in
an attempt to achieve the philosophical ideals of the library. However,
we should not dismiss such ambition as pure idealism and continue
upholding the status quo of the library. Instead, we should listen to
such calls as a challenge to increase the efficiency and scope of the
library's work, and do what we can to get as close to those ideals as
possible. If we understand the primary goal of the library is to provide
access to an accurate representation of our society and its many cultures,
we can also see that this goal is still unfulfilled by most libraries.
Naturally, such a goal will ideally be just out of reach, as cultures are
constantly in motion. Attempting to keep up will always leave us one step
behind. However, a blind adherence to tradition will leave us forever
stationary while society races out of sight. Valuing the worth of
tradition as an example of the remnants of what has been attempted and
stood the test of time, we should have no problem building on those
conventions that have proven their worth. Offering up new ways to
improve on old methods surely does not advocate the abandonment of library
standards, but rather the extension of those standards to advance a more
inclusive collection. Such "new" additions that have already proven their
currency in some places can be seen in the inclusion of popular culture
materials in the library's holdings. Marshall Fishwick's definition of
popular culture studies as "attempting to find new apparatus to study and
understand the world we inhabit and relish (Hoffman, 2)" provides a useful
connection between the library and fields of scholarly work that it aims
to service.

The academic library has, for the most part, ignored the need to include
popular material in its collection. With the exception of the most
successful example, the Popular Culture Library at Bowling Green State
University, few academic libraries have addressed the worth of popular
culture materials in helping students and faculty make sense of historical
and contemporary cultures. This is not surprising considering the long
tradition of marginalization that popular culture has suffered at the hand
of "official" or "high" culture (Hoffman, 6). Although popular culture
has existed since culture in general has been possible, there is little
trace of its many manifestations because it was deemed unworthy of
recording and preserving. Only within the last thirty years has popular
culture been deemed worthy of separate academic scholarship. Ray Browne,
in his essay claiming popular culture as the new humanities, suggests that
ignoring popular culture as a key element is akin to academics who turn
off their "listening button" and ignore the potential that exploring
popular culture can add to any work in the humanities (7). To remedy
this, he asks "those interested in studying and understanding American
life and culture in its broadest and richest sense, to become broader
viewed, more open minded, and less exclusive" (7). Similarly, Russel Nye
considers the "study of popular culture, done seriously and with proper
purpose and methodology, can open up new areas of evidence which can
contribute greatly to what we know about the attitudes, ideas and values
of a society at a given place or time; in so doing, we find a broader and
deeper understanding of society" (Browne, 5). Is this not the goal of
scholarship within the humanities in general? To clarify the quest for a
more complete vision of culture, we can turn to Ralph Waldo Emerson's
articulation of true knowledge:

"The literature of the poor, the feelings of a child, the philosophy of
the street, the meaning of household life, are the topics of the time. It
is a great stride of new vigor when the extremities are made active; when
the currents of warm life run into the hands and the feet. I ask not for
the great, the remote, the romantic; what is doing in Italy or Arabia;
what is Greek art or Provencal Ministry. I embrace the common. I explore
and sit at the feet of the familiar, the low. Give me insight into today
and you may have the antique and future worlds." (/qtd. in /Moran, 7)

To heed the advice of Emerson and scholars of popular culture ultimately
demands that a body of material be made available for research. Imagine
the chemistry professor attempting to put together insightful research
without access to a lab or necessary materials. Or picture the historian
attempting to make sense of the past without the use of archives. So too,
is the scholar who chooses to present a more complete picture of his or
her subject by incorporating popular materials working from a
disadvantaged position without the use of popular material in the library.

In addition to the outmoded tradition of privileging elite forms of
culture at the expense of popular culture, there are other obstacles to
establishing popular culture collections. One of the limitations,
suggests Barbara Moran, is the fallacy of limited collection development
potential. Because libraries have limited access to human and financial
resources, Moran says there is a need to acquire the "best" materials for
the least amount of money. Unfortunately, the ambiguity of the word
"best" often leads to the perpetuation of acquiring elite materials; a
phenomenon Wayne Wiegand calls "aesthetic conservatism" (Moran, 4). In
reality the diversification of collections to include popular culture can
be managed without extensive costs being incurred by the library, but
first, let us turn our attention to where to begin the diversification

Even if we agree that popular materials deserve to be collected and made
available to patrons in an academic library, where do we begin the
process? By definition, popular culture encompasses "aspects of the world
we inhabit; the way of life we inherit, practice and pass on to our
descendents; and what we do while we are awake, the dreams we dream while
asleep" (Browne, 1). While this definition leaves the door open for
acquiring all sorts of material in the name of popular culture, it
certainly does the traditional library little good in narrowing down what
it should direct its attention toward in trying to establish a holding of
popular material. For more direction toward the project, we can return to
Tebbe's statement that all "a society writes, publishes and reads is a
guide to its culture" (259). At first it may seem to be a rather
conservative statement to suggest that a library simply focus on the
printed word in an effort to expand its scope to include popular
materials. However, even with the library's focused attention on the
printed word as its main source for collection development, there is still
much work to be done before the achievement of this goal will be realized.

Outside the realm of books, popular magazines, scholarly journals,
reference materials and an infinite number of databases, there exists
printed material that has yet to be universally recognized as worthy of
library attention. Alternative literature, if incorporated into the
library seeking to expand its scope, will help fill in the gaps of
cultural representation left empty by having focused collection attention
primarily on elite or "accepted" literature. But even the term
"alternative literature" is fraught with ambiguity, and could leave the
well-intentioned librarian without much direction in her or his efforts.
Chris Atton claims that although a homogenous definition of alternative
literature would be impossible, there are a few characteristics that serve
to demarcate what alternative literature encompasses. For Atton (as well
as for our purposes here) alternative literature's primary characteristic
is a "critique of mainstream themes and perspectives that provide
thoroughgoing analyses of the media's representation of business and
government interests" (15). He also adds that in addition to proposing
alternative values to be put in place of those espoused by the mainstream,
alternative literature simply screams for social change. Whether this
scream is manifest in the erudite pages of _Z Magazine _or within the
irreverent pages of _Public Enema_, there is a shared assertion that
contemporary society needs fixing.

Needless to say, literature that provides criticism of the institutions on
which this nation was founded will find little long-term success in the
market. In fact, the inability (or lack of desire) of alternative
literature to establish any longevity in the market of publications is a
popular reason given by libraries for not collecting alternative
literature. The libraries' devotion to the freedom of expression and the
vehement denunciation of purposely excluding materials from library
collections, surely seems at odds with success in a capitalist market used
as a barometer to gauge which materials are worthy of library attention.
James Danky echoes these sentiments when he suggests that libraries that
adhere to market criteria to determine their acquisitions are guilty of
discrimination against alternative materials (12).

However, addressing the influence of the marketplace as a legitimate
concern for libraries that must operate within a capitalist system,
Patricia Glass Schuman states that libraries "have the power to affect
marketplaces - if they willingly use it" (1). In her essay "Libraries and
Alternatives," Schuman suggests libraries turn their attention away from
the "visible publishers." To learn about and acquire material from these
publishers is quite easy because the large percentage of ownership of
these publishers falls into the hands of very few corporations whose
primary objective is to get their books on library shelves. Instead of
relying on the increasingly concentrated network of publishers, Schuman
suggests librarians return to other sources of information that they have
been trained to work with. These other sources include "government
agencies, research centers, university presses, trade and labor
associations, and others which are not publishers per se, but rather
producers of information as a by-product of other purposes - they are often
non-profit or non-commercial" (1-2). Even as we read through this list of
alternative publishers, though, we can see how each one of these options
has its own drawbacks by virtue of having to compete in a market with
other corporations in the marketplace. To remedy this, Schuman suggests
libraries turn their attention toward publishers whom librarians are not
trained to work with - publishers of alternative literature. Their de
facto exclusion from the commercial market creates a form of literature
that provides an example of human communication and the creation of culture
that covers information that is not covered in traditional literature
because it is not commercially viable. Schuman also suggests that because
alternative literature is often published by only a few people who
probably earn a living at another job, alternative publishers could
benefit from a relationship with the library that helps preserve the work
they are doing for others to benefit from. Danky reiterates Schuman's
approach by suggesting "librarians need to have as wide as possible
definition of publishers, one that includes self-publication and the whole
spectrum of alternative materials" (29).

Zines most definitely fit this criteria, and with the working knowledge of
zines that I have presented here, we can proceed to address the question
of "Why collect"? zines in the library. Wouldn't they be served just as
well in a box in a closet until the time came to unearth them? If zines
are as ephemeral as we say they are, why do they deserve a place in the
library? To begin to answer those questions, I ask you to imagine doing
historiographic work on the social revolution of the 1960's without access
to such print capital as the _Berkeley Barb_ or the _Village Voice_. How
complete would an analysis of the times be without the crucial dissenting
voices that were amplified in the pages of underground newspapers and
magazines? In hindsight, we can see how crucial it is that these works be
preserved. However, Carlos Hagen reminds us that librarians during the
1960's and 1970's met the independent press with relative indifference.
"American librarianship has an admirable record of supporting freedom of
expression and fighting censorship," states Hagen, "one would have
expected that librarians would have recognized the importance of the new
publications and avidly supported them" (15). Unfortunately, today there
are few academic libraries that could claim a substantial collection of
the underground press of the 1960's, and we can learn some valuable
lessons from the mistakes made by past librarians.

Chris Makepeace addresses another concern voiced by librarians that deals
with the collection of ephemeral material. As we have seen, the library
has traditionally focused its collection efforts on those materials that
are established as credible. We have also seen how this conservative
approach results in overlooking material that, while residing in the
margins of mainstream society, may provide a perspective that is available
nowhere else. Makepeace asks, "who is to say that what is printed today
and discarded tomorrow by the majority of people will not fulfill some
important role in future historical research?" (2). Thus, the need to
preserve and collect zines in libraries is even more crucial at a time
when media ownership has become increasingly concentrated. The
homogenization of American culture brought on, in part, by this increased
concentration of media ownership does not go unchallenged, and it is up to
librarians to ensure that those dissenting voices are not silenced
forever. Julie Herrada, referring to the Labadie Collection of Social
Protest Literature at the University of Michigan, confirms this need in
saying, "our collections will provide an understanding for future
generations of how our society has challenged and transformed the walls of
censorship and control of information by the mainstream media - and it is
our responsibility to understand it well enough to disseminate it" (81).

Up to this point, it would seem that the justification for preserving
zines rests on the assumption that zines' existence in the fringes of
mainstream American culture is reason enough to collect them. While this
is adequate justification for many librarians, others may not be so
easily swayed. To those people, Laila Miletic-Vejsovic reconfirms zines'
status as creations of popular culture "because they reflect the
attitudes and values of the masses" (Chepesiuk 69). She says they "can
tell us a lot about slang and language in our society, so they are as
valuable a special collection as anything a library can collect"
(Chepesiuk 69). Kathryn DeGraff considers "zines to be a form of primary
source material as important for the study of the history of today's mass
culture as letters, diaries and scrapbooks" (Chepesiuk 70), which have
been given considerable attention from archivists and librarians.

As we can see, the dedication of the library to the notion of preserving
and making accessible all forms of expression is in congruence with the
collection of zines as one of those many forms of expression.
Unfortunately, the realistic financial and human resource limits on the
library often relegate the work of libraries to maintaining the status
quo, and the idea of actually preserving the ideals presented in the
Library Bill of Rights and Code of Ethics often seem far out of reach.
Surely most librarians, if given an unlimited budget and numerous helping
hands, would set to working on diversifying the library's holdings to
include a variety of different resources, including zines.

Assuming these limitations are real, I would still contend that
incorporating zines into the academic library would not be the daunting
task it initially seems to be. The librarian with little or no experience
with zines need only visit a local coffee shop, record store or
independent bookstore to find locally produced zines. Many zines review
other zines within their pages, and they often include letters written to
the editor or individual writers. With those two resources alone, a
person can pick up one zine and become instantly connected to ten or more
other zines. With this in mind, Chris Dodge recommends librarians
interested in making zines a part of their collections should adopt the
"think globally, collect locally" mindset of zine acquisition (29). The
informal communication network of zines allows the librarian to start with
a small local collection that has the potential to grow exponentially with
very little effort. Because zines are a form of communication that
attempts to exist at the margins of a commercial market, they often only
cost a dollar or two per copy to cover printing and postage costs. Some
zine editors even distribute their zines for free or in exchange for
stamps. A librarian that is able to navigate the informal communication
networks of the zine world could easily enhance the acquisition of zines.

By utilizing zines that focus their attention on reviewing other zines
(such as the _MSRRT Newsletter _or _Zine Guide_), as well as developing
relationships with distributors and editors, the librarian could establish
a self-sustaining flow of zines into the libraries. If zine writers were
made aware of how they would benefit from the preservation of the zines in
libraries, most would assuredly be interested in sending their zines to
libraries for free. Recognizing the probable resistance to the
institutionalization of zines by publishers, Herrada urges us that "as
librarians with a vision, we must convince zine publishers not only of the
importance of preserving and making accessible of their work as a cultural
or educational tool, but also that we won't as (Andy "Sunfrog") Smith says
'give their name to the cops'" (80). There is a slow recognition by zine
publishers that the world of zines could benefit from a close relationship
with libraries. Just as libraries could fill in the gaps of their
collections by including zines, zine publishers could increase the
readership of their zines exponentially with little cost to them.
Speaking to other zine writers regarding the possibility of working with
libraries and archives, Andy "Sunfrog" Smith states, "while many
publishers are also avid zine collectors, we could hardly hope to compile
the depth and divergence that an aggressive archivist may cull and pull
together. We should lend our support to the archives that keep our voices
from the political wilderness alive by visiting them and sending our zines
their way" (Herrada, 83).

Assuming the acquisition of zines would actually represent the easiest
aspect of incorporating zines into the library, we can learn from the work
of a few other libraries about how to deal with the more difficult work of
making sense out of a diverse collection of zines. Because of the
overwhelming diversity of zines, cataloging them could be a nightmare.
However, Alison Scott, director of the Popular Culture Library at Bowling
Green State University, suggests that if a library is serious about
developing and making a collection of zines accessible, the tools are
already available to the librarian to help impose some coherence on a
collection of zines. When Billie Aul and the New York State Library
offered to house the _Factsheet Five_ collection of over 10,000 zines,
they chose not to approach it as a collection of thousands of serials.
Instead, "bibliographic access (is provided) only to the collection as a
whole - access to particular items in the collection would be provided by
finding aids, which are more like broad indexes or tables of contents than
like cataloging" (82). Obviously different libraries will have access to
different resources, which is why a zine collection should be managed
creatively and critically according to the needs of the community that it
serves. Some public librarians advocate the incorporation of zines into
the periodical collections. Other libraries, such as the Popular Culture
Library in Bowling Green, have incorporated zines into their special
collection holdings and are providing access to the closed stacks as they
do the rest of their collection.

Some advocate preserving zines as full-color microfiche and providing
access to them as we would other archival materials. Similar suggestions
have been made to render zines electronically immortal through the use of
computers. While both are excellent ideas for the long-term preservation
of zines, we should not ignore the physical properties of zines, as they
are as much a part of what zines are as the content. Zines, with their
xeroxed pages, silk-screened covers, homemade binding or handwritten text,
are portable constructions of culture that can talk back either through
the text or a paper cut on the hand of the reader. As such, zines are
fragile. The long-term goal of preserving zines in fiche format or
digitally will serve well long after the physical object has deteriorated,
but the first order of business to make efforts to locate and preserve as
many zines as possible.

The library has a rich tradition of conservatism that is constantly being
challenged. Thirty years ago, the idea that popular culture artifacts
should be collected and preserved was scoffed at by many, but today the
Popular Culture Library in Bowling Green is lauded as an exemplary model
of how to practice librarianship. Instead of simply citing the work of
the Popular Culture Library as a model, many libraries are beginning to
take part in establishing their own popular culture collections. However,
the process has been slow going. The acquisition of more alternative
literature titles can help bridge the gap between the traditional notion
of a library that focuses primarily on the printed word and the more
unconventional idea of the work of libraries that we see in the Popular
Culture Library. Included in the realm of alternative literature are the
independently produced zines that have exploded in numbers during the last
twenty years.

Zines are only the most recent form of communication that provides voice
to those without access to mainstream outlets. They are the latest on the
scene, but have undoubtedly proven their staying power after almost a
century of publishing and the most recent turn toward the internet. Zine
publishers have long since known about the democratizing potential of
self-publishing. Chris Dodge suggests that zines are "a celebration, not
only of the much vaunted freedom to read, but of the freedom to publish"
(30). Fredric Wertham offers some closing thoughts when he asks, "can we
afford to ignore completely an era of communication like fanzines" Should
we not try to bridge the gap between gifted amateurs and institutionalized
intellectuals?" (132). If we are to uphold the principles of the library
as an administrator of /all/ forms of information, we cannot deny zines a
position within its walls.


Zines have spent the last seventy years in the margins of American
culture. Their presence at times has been seemingly invisible, while at
other times they have pushed their way into the public spectrum. No
doubt, some manifestation of independent publishing will continue to
flourish as long as people have something to say and feel that they are
not represented by mainstream media. How much longer zines will remain to
be that form of publishing remains to be seen, but discussion about this
particular form of communication is only beginning. As I conclude this
project, I am consistently reminded how much more there is to discuss
about the culture of zines. Although I feel that substantial treatment
has been paid to what I believe are most interesting tenets of the
underground publishing culture, I am certain that this thesis will only be
another chapter in a long-running discussion about the purpose that the
underground press plays in American culture and politics.

Even as I write this, the internet has revolutionized the way that
individuals communicate, and some would say that this revolution will
relegate the printed word to the dustbins of history. When I mention the
project you are reading to others, their first query is whether or not I
looked at electronic zines (e-zines) in my study. That e-zines have
co-opted the term "zine" for their own name and staked similar claims that
zines have held for the last twenty years seems an interesting point for
further discussion. Will zines in the printed form eventually fade from
existence, to be replaced by personal websites or electronic bulletin
boards? Or will they simply remain an electronic version of the printed
zines that will continue to be published?

Another avenue concerning zine culture that I think bears examining is the
fact that the demographics of zine culture seemed to be dominated by
women. Contrary to the patriarchal tradition that pervades most aspects
of American culture, the culture of zines provides one arena where women
enjoy majority status and treatment. Morella Raleigh examined this in the
context of Riot Grrl culture, but in the wake of post-Riot Grrl feminism,
zines continue to act on feminist claims that women's voices need to have
an outlet for the expression of ideas and sharing of experiences. In
fact, even as I finish this work, an examination of gender politics in
punk culture by Lauraine LeBlanc, titled _Pretty In Punk_, has been
published adding more representative dimension to the discussion of
cultural resistance in America today.

And although I mentioned that zines seem to be a somewhat accepted form of
cultural resistance I wonder how long this will remain true. Protestors
at the World Trade Organization meetings in Seattle last year brought with
them communication networks that incorporated zines, newspapers, websites
and satellite video communication to broadcast their intentions and
desired outcome of the protests. The faces of participating protesters
have been uploaded onto the Seattle Police Department's website in an
effort to catch the "criminals" who helped prematurely convene the trade
talks of the World Trade Organization. The crackdown on the freedom to
have one's perspective heard and acknowledged reinforces the need for
outlets of communication that are not regulated by the marketplace or
governmental policy. Zines have been filling this need for years, and
will hopefully do so as long as they are needed.


Adams, Randolph. "Librarians as Enemies of Books." reprinted from _The
Library Quarterly_. 7.3 (1937).

American Library Association. _American Library Association Code of
Ethics_. Adopted 28 June, 1995. 27 March 1999

---. _The Library Bill of Rights/American Library Association_. Adopted 18
June, 1948. 27 March, 1999 <>.

Anderson, Benedict. _Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and
Spread of Nationalism_. New York: Verso. 1991.

Atton, Chris. _Alternative Literature: A Practical Guide for Librarians_.
Aldershot England/Brookfield, Vermont, USA: Gower, 1996.

Browne, Ray B. "Popular Culture as the New Humanities." Journal of
Popular Culture 17:4 (Spring 1984): 1-8.

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This article was previously published in Praxis #3, in Zine Guide #3, and
in Counterpoise, Vol. 5, No. 2.

Jason Kucsma is currently the co-editor of Clamor Magazine and
co-organizer of the Underground Publishing Conference

His review of Stephen Duncomb's Notes from the Underground:
Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture, London/New York: Verso,
1997, pp. 288, 50 b/w illustrations, ISBN 1-8598-4158-9. (paper)


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