2023 Virginia Archives Month

Colorful banner with the collaged archival images in the background and the text "Archives are community made."

To highlight the power and opportunity in the DIY efforts of both archivists and archives users, this year’s Virginia Archives Month theme is Community Made: Zines and Self-Published Material. Archives are reflections of the communities who built them, and our users often find themselves inspired to add to the community’s story or to use our materials to create something new. Archives aren’t only for scholars and researchers; they can be for artists and writers and anyone!

A zine (pronounced zeen) is a self-created magazine about anything! They can be made from basic supplies like paper, scissors, pens, and markers, and then reproduced by simple photocopying.

Making a zine can be as simple or as detailed as you’d like it to be. Below, we’ve included a diagram that shows how you can make a zine with just a regular letter-size piece of paper and a pair of scissors.

A cartoon-style graphic depicting the steps of folding and cutting a small zine.
Make your own mini zine!

Whatever goes inside is up to you! Zines can be used to tell a story, share artwork, bring together a community, spread information, or just for self-expression. You can cut and paste images on the pages, write, draw, or all of the above!

This month (and also all the time) we’re encouraging our friends everywhere to try making their own zines. Even if it’s just for you and no one else, you’re still part of a community of creators and we’re happy you’re here! Virginia is lucky to have several zine libraries and collections of self-published materials in repositories across the Commonwealth. We have a small collection of materials here at UMW too!

Cartoon of the head and shoulders of person wearing sunglasses. Their shirt says "Static" in a large wavy font. The text reads "WMWC 540 AM, Spring '93, vol. 2, no. 3."
Spring 1993 issue of Static

One such example is Static, which was briefly the official student publication of the Mary Washington college radio station WMWC. The self-published newsletter showcases the classic cut-and-paste and hand-drawn aesthetic of 80s and 90s punk and, while generally focused on music and culture, openly invited submissions of all kinds.

A person's hand holds open a zine to a page where the bold headers "Who is an archivist?" and "What is an archive" are prominent.

There’s plenty more self-published and community made materials in the UMW Archives! Come visit us at our Archives Month table on Tuesday, October 24 from 4-5:30pm. We’ll be on the first floor of Simpson Library making zines and we invite you to join us! We’ll have all the materials on hand for you to get started! We’ll also have some examples from UMW’s collections and our own personal libraries for you to view, and some free Virginia Archives Month stickers and swag.

See you there!

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