Teen Zine is a series of workshops made to encourage teens to get creative, to collaborate, share ideas, and have their voices heard. The series was hosted on Saturdays in the Teen Department of the Main Library from May 5th to June 16th. The workshops allowed teens to congregate, talk to artists and zine writers, and work together to make their very own zine.
So what is a zine? A zine is a self-published magazine or booklet that contains art, images, and text about any topic. Common topics include art, music, poetry, fan fiction, feminism, social justice, and more. Zines can be made by anyone. By making zines, teens can express their creativity, interests, and individuality. The Main Library acquired its zine collection in spring of 2009 and is the only branch to house zines in its shelves.
Stefa Witt, librarian of the Teen Department, created the Teen Zine workshops to emphasize the importance in teens expressing their voices and creativity to the community by making zines. When asked about her reason for founding the workshop, she said, “Zines are a great vehicle for helping the disenfranchised, such as teens, to have their voices heard and that’s why I wanted to introduce zine making to the teens at our library.”
On May 5th, Stefa started the first Teen Zine workshop by teaching five teens a brief history of zine making, shared the Main Library’s favorite zines in the collection, and discussed binding strategies to use when creating a zine. From May 12th to June 2nd, she invited zine writers to discuss their zine-making experience and lead a workshop for teens to create zines.
On May 12th, DJ and LGBT activist Graciela Cain talked to six teens about the creative process of zine making. On May 19th, Eva Avenue talked to ten teens about her collaboration with the Sweetwater Coffee Company to make her zine dedicated to coffee. On June 2nd, friends Hurley Winkler and Aysha Miskin discussed how they collaborated to make their zine titled Nickname and led six teens to make a zine together. On June 9th, members of UNF’s English Honor Society, Sigma Tau Delta, came to discuss the editing process of creating zines. On June 16th, the Teen Department staff published 13 handmade zines into the library’s zine collection and held a celebration party with snacks for the teens’ work on their zines.
When asked about the general mood of the teens during the workshops, Stefa said that some thought the idea of zine-making was weird at first while others were excited to try it out. She said that the collaboration zines produced the best work, being visually stunning and more creative. In the end, the teens were excited that their zines had been added to the library’s zine collection and they picked up copies to distribute to their friends.
"...zines can be about anything you want, but it can be intimidating to ask what they should be about."
We asked Hurley Winkler about her experience in the workshop to get an idea of what Teen Zine is like. She said the experience was “eye-opening,” noting that there was a lot of creativity going on in the room. When asked about how the teens reacted when they were asked to collaborate on a zine, she said that they were nervous at first, but once they started to share ideas and get creative, they became comfortable with the project. She said the question the teens asked her the most was what their zines should be about. Winkler says that zines can be about anything you want, but it can be intimidating to ask what they should be about. She said the best part of her experience was showing the teens how to use the library’s Xerox copy machines to print the zines and seeing their excitement when they realized their zines had been published.
The Teen Zine workshop series was ultimately created to help teens get creative and have their voices heard by making zines. From the success of the collaborative zines and the teens’ excitement upon their zines’ publication, the series seems to have reached its goal of helping the disenfranchised express their voices creatively to the community. To learn more about zines, check out the Main Library’s Zine Collection online.
By Truman Towner, Community Relations & Marketing Intern
As part of the Mayor’s Youth at Work Partnership, Truman Towner is an intern working in the Community Relations and Marketing department of the Main Library. He is a homeschooled senior in high school and plans to major in English and get his AA Degree at FSCJ and transfer to UNF upon high school graduation.