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University Library, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Introduction to Zines

This is a starting point to learn about zine history, finding and researching with zines, incorporating zines into the classroom, and making your own zines!

About the Page

This page is an abridged version of Ricker Library's ABZ: Artists' Books & Zines: Makers & Distributors Guide. To learn about Artist Books and Zine Makers & Distributors, be sure to check out their full guide! 

Selected Zines at Ricker

Tips for Searching in the Catalog

Doing a keyword search for zines is not the most effective search strategy, since the word "zine" is present throughout the Library Catalog. A more useful way to find zines is by searching for a subject in the U of I Collection, then filtering your results using the tools on the left hand column.

Some other Keyword Search Terms that relate to zines or may be used instead of "zine" include:

  • Author books
  • DIY Publishing
  • Independent Publishing
  • Alternative Media 
  • Comics/Comix
  • Experimental Books
  • Altered Books 
  • Fanzines 
  • Graphic novels 
  • Photobooks 
  • Monographs 
  • Punk culture 
  • Independent media 
  • Alternative media   
  • Underground (press, comic books, media, strips, etc.)

Note that some collections may come up as an individual record, rather than several records for each item. For example, there are records at Ricker that are collections of zines that were all completed for a class final, and thus added to the library together. 

Additionally, Zine-making is often more social in nature than the traditional book writing process. Zines can be collaborative projects with many contributors adding to the pages of a single issue. It's not unusual for them to be part of an exchange where copies of a zine are sent to others. Zines are also commonly made in groups around a common topic, so to understand the work fully, you might also need to know the context of its creation. 

Of course, you can also always ask for support! We're here if any questions come up for you. The Ask A Librarian chat box will get you in direct contact with a librarian at UIUC, and if instant messaging isn't for you, you can email us at!

Videos of Zines at Ricker