Zines are an opportunity for students to serve at the intersection of maker, expert, and teacher. Students can tell stories and share their knowledge through both images and text and share this learning in a low-cost, easy to reproduce fashion.
– Educator & Social Justice Advocate, Raymond Yang, “Why Zines Need to be Part of Your Curriculum”

In February, the Adirondack Center for Writing created three experiences for North Country youth to experiment with zine-making. This handmade, tactile form of communication is essential for teaching young thinkers about how to tell a story, make a point, or explore a topic in a short, shareable publication. It was refreshing to see young creators engaging in screen-free self-expression. Thanks to the Lake Placid Education Foundation for supporting this program.

A zine is a self-published, non-commercial print-work that is typically produced in small, limited batches.  Zines are created and bound in many DIY ways, but traditionally editions are easily reproduced—often by crafting an original “master flat,” and then photocopying, folding, and stapling the pages into simple pamphlets.  Zines may also be sewn, taped, glued—or even exist in unbound and other non-folio formats.  The main rule is that there are no rules! The Bindery, Milwaukee WI

  1. ACW & Saranac Lake High School’s Library Makerspace

We partnered with artist, writer, and zine-maker Erin Dorney to host a day-long zine residency at the Makerspace inside the Saranac Lake High School library. Dorney hosted a drop-in workshop throughout the day, introducing students to zines through her own diverse collection. She also encouraged students to make their own zines and gave them the resources to take the skills and ideas home with them. Thanks to SLHS librarian Seth Putnam for inspiring the program and helping us make it happen.

2. ACW & The Link Arts Center: “My First Fanzine” Workshop

The following weekend, we partnered with Megan Charland of The Link Arts Center in Plattsburgh to offer a zine-making workshop for kids aged 8-12. Our students made a variety of spirited and funky publications. They particularly liked working with the typewriters. Each student left with copies of their own zine, and a copy of each of their classmates, giving each student the seeds for their own personal zine library. Luckily, ACW got a copy of each as well.

3. ACW & The Link Arts Center: “TEEN ZINE” Workshop

Later that day, we invited the teenagers to come into the writing center and make zines as well. TEEN ZINE welcomed youth aged 13-17 to spend time exploring poetry, collage, design, and paper-folding techniques. Their zines were personal and poetic, touching on everything from motivation, identity, and climate change. We were impressed by a “silent” zine that used no words at all; instead it was comprised of stark black and white illustrations. ACW is proud to have a copy of each of these zines in our library too.

If you’re an educator, parent, or young writer yourself, check out the following links for more ideas about the possibilities of zine-making. If you’ve got the itch to take another class, The Link Arts Center in Plattsburgh runs workshops like these weekly.

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