Be Scene at the Toronto Zine Library!

For magazinesters like ourselves a trip to the Toronto Zine Library was just what the doctor ordered last Sunday. It gave us a chance to do some research into the process of making a magazine that isn’t necessarily meant for large distribution, or to serve the needs of its audience, but rather as a personal project for the artist/writer themselves.

Zine experts Sara and Amy gave us an overview of the history of zines, how they started as little booklets sent in the mail to and from fans of science fiction about their topic of interest, and have grown into a vibrant and subject diverse DIY (do-it-yourself) industry. Today there are zine fairs in many major cities. In Toronto, Canzine is a festival/meeting place for independent artists/writers/publishers that happens every October. Hmmm, come to think of it, this may be a great venue to distribute some of Be Scene’s mags.

Learning about the history of zine making was interesting, but the most exciting part of the field trip was definitely collaborating on our own group zine. (I will post pictures of it when we pick up our copies next week). Cutting and pasting letters and images from magazines, writing, drawing and colouring, creating our own stories to put together a collaborative “perzine” (personal zine) was inspiring. I think it was a nice break for all of us from being so serious about trying to get our ideas across in the more traditionally formatted magazine articles we usually focus on producing.

It was very relaxing eating potato chips, grapes and granola bars, with the door to the fire escape open and the breeze coming through. We took turns working, chatting and scoping the shelves and bins for attractive and uniquely formatted little booklets. Coming across some of them felt like opening a portal to a secret world of someone else. One great series of zines I found were notes written in high school that had been saved and folded into interesting shapes then placed in little clear baggies with introduction labels. Unfolding the mundane and outdated secrets that someone else chose to keep was thrilling. There were lot’s of other treasures we found too – zines about poetry, art, politics, cooking, sexuality...basically any subject you could imagine. There was so much to see I think we all plan to make another trip.

If you’d like to visit or learn more about the Toronto Zine Library, here is the web address where you can find information about where it is and when it’s open:

That's all for now!
- Sarah Feldbloom
Coordinator for Catch da Flava and Be Scene Magazines

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