Glasgow Zine Library: the DIY creative space

By Evann Clelland

A library to most people is a place full of old, dusty books. Some members of the public think of libraries as a place where information can be accessed without the need for the internet. The Glasgow zine library takes these expectations of a normal library and subverts them. This library has turned the idea of a normal library and created a space for creative thinking and for art, with a focus on Zine

A Zine is a self-published piece of artistic work, usually seen as a collection of appropriated or original text and images.  The term ‘Zine’ was first in 1940, by Russ Chauvenet in a Science fiction fanzine named ‘The Comet’. These Zines became popularised with multiple subcultures and fandoms and were produced in small numbers. Zines draw inspiration from the Do-it-yourself philosophy and disregarded so called ‘traditional’ forms of professional publications.  

These days Scots have taken this concept and have ran with it. The Glasgow Zine library is a community-based collection of artistic expression run in Glasgow Southside with a focus on Zines of any sort of creative expression. The Zine library is a project that started with the Glasgow Zine festival which is a festival that has been running in the city for seven years where creators of Zines can hold stalls and share their work with like-minded people.  This collection of self-published works are full of doodles, graphics, text, and images. Every single one of these tiny books are full of original material and no two are alike. The Zine library’s programmer when asked about what a Zine can be stated, “zines can be anything you want them to be about, the thing about Zines is that it is an opportunity to self-publish your work, you’re never going be  told not to do something by someone else, and its also a very accessible format, anyone can make a Zine as long as you’ve got some paper and a pen you can make one.”    

The lead programmer who works alongside the Director and organiser of the library Lauren Davis, to program events for the Glasgow Zine library. “all of our events are tied into our collection…we have over 900 Zines in our collection which is very exciting, all of these have been donated by the public.” Events at the library are in that mindset of ‘something for everyone’ there is sober LGBTQ events where members of that community can have a quiet and chilled out space to talk, there is also events surrounding Punk where documentaries were shown and workshops took place to discuss ‘what punk means to people.’ “We program our events around our wider ethos of DIY  making, which is not just Zine culture itself but wider DIY activity, like DIY filmmaking and printmaking, we also haves lots of events for children, over the summer, we had a little pottery class for children where they got to make little clay pots.”

The Glasgow Zine Library is a space where creativity and hard work walk hand in hand. This organisation have managed to create a place where people are free to express themselves in artistic ways, as well as allow creative minds to meet.  

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