What Are Zines?

Zines are do-it-yourself publications used by different cultural groups to share ideas and information. The zine name and format emerged in the 1930s from fanzines; publications created by and for fellow science fiction fans.[1] This same zine format – small circulation, handmade, often photocopied – was picked up as a way in which activists could disseminate social and political views in the 1960s. From the 1970s-1990s punk rockers and feminist groups often adopted the zine format as a way to express their views within their communities.[2] During subsequent decades the appeal of zines has only grown for makers and viewers alike. These light-to-hold pages of images and text are cheap to produce and to purchase, even fun to trade. They have never been more popular. People want to know about them, so they go to zine fests, meet the artists, look in libraries and book stores and learn what can always be said about zines – they are limitless in their formats, subjects, and appeal.

Zines at the UT Libraries

The University of Texas Libraries has notable zine collections across three campus libraries! This suite of digital exhibits presents small, curated highlights from these unique collections, along with context, analysis, and history of these rare, ephemeral materials. See the About page to learn more about the Libraries’ zine collections.

Explore Zine Exhibits

Art Zines from the Russell Etchen Collection demonstrates the creative process for artists, with a focus on compositional devices such as page layout, collage, and color as they move from early sketches to finalized pieces. Above all, the exhibition is an homage to Russell Etchen, an influential zine collector in Austin. Weird and Wonderful Little Books gives a visual history of poetry chapbooks in Austin. Spanning 40 years, the exhibit pays respect to local small presses, editors, and self-publishers who played an instrumental role in Austin's literary community. Finally, You Are What You (Do Not) Eat considers the intersection of Latinx identity and food studies, as well as offshoots like speciesism and veganism as forms of resistance.


[1] Worley, Matthew, ed., Ripped, Torn and Cut : Pop, Politics and Punk Fanzines From 1976. Manchester: Manchester University Press, 2018, 4. Accessed July 15, 2019. ProQuest Ebook Central.

[2] Worley, 4.