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Zines at The New York Public Library: Home

The guide presents an overview of zines in NYPL's collection, including how to search for and request zines.


The New York Public Library houses a historic zine collection and continues to acquire zines today. The Library's collection, which started in the early 1990s, was originally focused on two main areas: the literary (fiction, prose, poetry) and the local (creators and works from the five boroughs of New York City, and extending to the surrounding metro area). Within these two big areas, specific topics covered include, but are not limited to, environmental issues, gay and lesbian studies, politics and activism, human rights, gender studies, race and class.

What are zines?
Zines (pronounced zeens) are easier to describe than define. They're "do it yourself," handmade magazines in different shapes, sizes, and formats. Many are handwritten, photocopied, and stapled, while some may be magazine-like publications and professionally printed. They are a unique form of personal self-expression, made for love rather than profit, and can cover just about any subject you can think of.

A subset of the collection is housed in the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room, Room 108, at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, along with the current periodical collection. There are also zines stored in the Library's on-site stacks and off-site storage facility, which can be requested and served in the Rose Main Reading Room, Room 315, at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building.

A Note on Zines

"I came to realize that, considered in their totality, zines weren't the capricious ramblings of isolated cranks (though some certainly were), but the variegated voices of a subterranean world staking out its identity through the cracks of capitalism and in the shadows of the mass media. Zines are speaking to and for an underground culture." 

-Stephen Duncombe

Notes from Underground: Zines and the Politics of Alternative Culture