Spotcheck: Denver 'zine library fights boredom
Published: Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Updated: Sunday, July 19, 2009 01:07
In a city where community is hard to find and boredom rampant, the Denver Zine Library offers an effective panacea. Where else can you attend a how-to workshop on gardening from a Denver gardener with 36 years experience, read about a women's urine fetish from London or listen to a local writer read from a self-published 'zine about race and queer issues?
The Denver Zine Library has it all. With 6,504 meticulously catalogued zines from self-published authors from around the world encompassing such diverse and disparate topics as radical political issues, hangover cures and traveling, and with a community centered and facilitated agenda, there are no longer any excuses to feel excluded or bored.
The Denver Zine Library started in December 2003 in a backyard garage on Archer Street. It was at this location that the library began its first collections of 'zines, readings and community events. After an anonymous complaint from a neighbor, however, the city stepped in, ruling that the Denver Zine Library was in violation of zoning laws.
The library put up a fight, but quickly began looking for places to move. So in August 2004, the DZL moved into The Other Side Arts space at 1644 Platte St. where they currently reside. The DZL set up shop in the main gallery where access to a large space provided them with the ability to continue readings and community events with more regularity and freedom. The move enabled the DZL to blossom into a bona-fide organization with committed volunteers, assets and the ability to expand and sustain.
The DZL makes it simple: "The purpose is not to have an agenda, but a radical library where people can come in and do things for themselves and their community," says Kristy Fenton, co-director of the organization. They also promote a strong DIY (do-it-yourself) ethic and commitment to literacy and diversity, components central to the 'zine culture at large.
And if you ever attend a reading or community event at the library, it is apparent they are succeeding in their purpose. Homemade food and snacks often accompany zine readings, local music acts, and workshops, where the atmosphere is jovial and the experience is always educational.
As for the future, the DZL has adopted a new plan aimed at increasing access and diversity. Each month they will feature a different theme or focus like home recording, gardening and health, to name a few. Local community members, speakers and activists will facilitate workshops and discussion on the given theme. Fenton states, "How to sustain a community organization is to diversify it by offering myriad ways of participation to other communities."
Stop by the Denver Zine Library to read some 'zines, meet with the volunteers, attend an event or all of the above. In order to check out any of the 'zines, you must grace the library with your presence at least three times. For a list of upcoming events, go to www.denverzinelibrary.org. Hours of operation are Saturday and Sunday, 1-5:00 p.m.