Inside the stately branch of the Brooklyn Public Library that sits on the corner of Bushwick Avenue and DeKalb Avenue, a set of cardboard magazine file boxes line a shelf amid the library’s conventional lending library. Those boxes hold a collection unlike any other in the BPL system: a set of the handmade and self-published multimedia works called zines.
The zine collection, which was curated by BPL librarian Janice Dees, is dedicated to Travis Fristoe, a legendary, community-minded zinester from Gainesville, Florida, who authored a beloved fanzine entitled “America?“.
Dees established the collection at the library this past year with the goal of creating an offering that presents zines as the site of a rich tradition of personal histories, which she felt would resonate with the library’s visitors in this changing neighborhood.
Zines have been popular for decades (Brooklyn was recently home to a huge, nationally renowned zine fest) but prior to this collection, the BPL didn’t have anything like it, according to BPL communications coordinator Adam Leddy. “The Fristoe collection is unique in our system,” Leddy tells Bushwick Daily. “There are no other zine collections that I’m aware of.”
The collection has been a valuable tool for fostering community at the library. Dees collaborated with Silent Barn on holding a well attended Travis Fristoe Memorial Zine Fest at the library this past summer, and she subsequently won library funding to run a program called Bushwick Crossroads, a multidisciplinary workshop series that included a zine making session.
Do you have a zine of your own? Consider contributing it to the collection—Dees wants to keep it growing and make it as diverse and inclusive as possible.
Stop by and check it out today!
Featured image: The Travis Fristoe Memorial Zine Collection at the DeKalb Avenue branch of the Brooklyn Public Library in Bushwick. Photo courtesy of Janice Dees.