By Gabriela Laracca
On Oct. 5 at 3:30 p.m., the Rohrbach Library hosted the opening of KU’s Zine Library with a zine debut by senior Shannon McCarthy. The Zine Library, which is displayed across from the library’s café on the main floor, was created by KU senior, Jesse Warner.
McCarthy’s zine was an interpretation of Wolfgang Borchert’s German play, ‘The Man Outside,’ originally known as ‘Draußen vor der Tür.’ McCarthy created her zine for German professor Lynn Kutch’s German graphic novel class.
This zine was one of many hosted at the Zine Library. By definition, a zine (pronounced zeen,) is a DIY publication that is self-published and released on a small scale with usually less than 100 copies created.
Due to the nature of a zine’s publication, authors/artists are free to explore the vast possibilities of what their zine can be about, what it could look like and the tone it could take without worrying about an editor turning it down for being too specific or too out there.
“It can encourage students to be creative once they realize there’s not this gate keeper that’s keeping them from publishing,” said communication design professor Kevin McCloskey. “It’s really empowering to students to be able to make their own publication.”
“[Zines] are a democratized version of knowledge- you can make a zine about anything from any perspective and it will be valid,” said Warner. “There’s no third-party saying you can’t make the zine, there’s no publisher, no distributor you have to submit to. You just have a concept you want to express and you do it. No one can stop you.”
One aspect of zines that was emphasized multiple times throughout the presentation was that anyone can create them. McCarthy emphasized that she had never taken an art class in her life and had no artistic experience, but she was still able to create one.
“It doesn’t take skill, it takes will,” said McCarthy. “If you have an idea, go for it. Give it a shot because the worst that can happen is you have a piece of paper that you crumple up and throw away.”
The zines featured on the Zine Library’s shelves inspired other students. Tierney Suefer, a senior also in the German graphic novel class, was impressed with McCarthy’s artistic ability.
“She says she has no artistic ability, but I can’t imagine putting something together like that,” said Suefer. “I remember seeing [her zine] for the first time and the only thing that popped into my head was how she could even come up with the ideas to make it a thing- it looked really well-done.”
Although anyone can donate or sell zines to the zine library, there is a focus on student, alumni and faculty work.
“KU has so many talented students and really amazing artists that I’m confident that in years to come, the zine library might overflow just with the work of KU students alone,” said Bruce Jensen, librarian and head of Steamworks.
Zines can be printed in Rohrbach Library 18 at Steamworks. For more information, visit library.kutztown.edu/STEAMworks/zines.