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Collins Library Zine Collection: What is a Zine?

What is a zine?

Most zine creators resist established conventions regarding style, content, and production; however, zines do share many common characteristics.

Zines are...

Self-published, usually in limited numbers. Anyone can make and publish a zine.

Small-format, low-budget, DIY (do it yourself) projects. Zines are most often created on paper and photocopied, many use a cut-and-paste collage or handwritten style, while others integrate typed text with sophisticated graphics.

Distributed through informal channels: by their makers (either independently or through zine distributors), by hand, by mail, or at small bookstores and zine fests.

Non-commercial. Zines are usually inexpensive or free because their creators want to share ideas or express themselves creatively, not to make money.

Often linked to a specific activity, lifestyle, or subculture. There are zines about green living, vegetarian cooking, punk rock, feminism, anarchism, and science fiction, to name a few examples.

A medium for expressing niche interests or viewpoints that aren't represented in the mainstream print (or other) media. Many zines feature topics such as identity, community, politics, and resistance, but they are also used to communicate personal experiences or for creative expression.

Some types of zines:

  • Art zines
  • Compilation zines
  • DIY/How-to zines
  • Fanzines
  • Literary zines
  • Minicomics
  • Personal zines (perzines)
  • Political zines
  • Travel zines 
  • ...and more!


Take a deeper look at our zine collection with Humanities Librarian, Katy Curtis, in this new video from Arches and visit us in A&SC to learn more!

Zines at Collins Library

The Collins Library Zine Collection is housed in Archives & Special Collections on the 2nd Floor of Collins Library.

View the finding aid for the full collection on Archives West!

Zine Anthologies at Collins