Sac Zine Fest 2019 – Review

Catch a Zine by Its Toe! If it Hollers, Buy Two Copies!
Sacramento Zine Fest 2019
Saturday, May 25th, 2019 from 11 AM to 5 PM
Zine Enthusiast Confidential - RIOT
Part 1 of XXX

Hello true believers!  Oh, the lovely sight of a room full of ZINES! (And assorted fun things!)

If you love art, if you love humor, if you love anything that isn't normal, then you must surely love zines.  For those unfamiliar (gasp!) with this format then a quick explanation is in order.  A zine is short for fan-zine and is basically about anything the author (or collection of authors) is interested in.  It can be about one subject, it can be a collection of things, it can be a story, it can be art, it can be text, it can make no sense whatsoever, it can be creative, it can be copied on an old photo copier, it can be professionally made on super duper expensive silkscreened homemade paper, it can be super expensive or it can be super cheap (and on occasion free), it can be done on glass, it can be a series, it can be a one-off, it can be written in crayon, it can be made with invisible ink, it can tell personal stories, it can be pure fantasy, it can be crass, it can be touching, it can make fun of copyrighted material, it can be closer to a comic book, it can be closer to a magazine, it can be a sketchbook, it can be photography, it can be poetry, it can be made with stickers, it can be made with glitter, it can be so tiny that it is the size of your pinky, it can be so big that your back will hurt after lugging it around, it can... I think you start to get the point here that there is a very wide range of things that make the "zine" world so interesting.  In addition to zines, you may also find at a zine fest: art prints, stickers, toys, figures, clothing, hats, books, comic books, jewelry, buttons, candy, swaggy type stuff, and anything and everything in between.

[For those interested in a deeper (or longer) explanation on zines, check out the Wikipidia entry (although I do not agree with everything they say as definitive):]

I'd say from my experience, a high percentage of zines, are non-mainstream type stuff. A good chunk of that non-mainstream stuff can sometimes push the boundaries of what some people consider the taste of "norms".  Not everything is for everyone and it is always advised to keep a close eye on young children at these events because not everything is age appropriate for small children or people who are a bit uptight (careful with the rents!).  These are creative types doing their thing and it is beautiful.  It is freeing in a way to see what people create.  Most do not have any big company backing them.  They are doing it on their own and they do it themselves or in a group of people who do it together, often without much help at all.

So, I'm going to do a series of posts related to some of the zines I was able to check out at the Sacramento Zine Fest 2019.  If you were like, "Why didn't I know about this shindig?"  Well, now you do and can look for it the next time it takes place and save some money up because there is way too much cool stuff to get and cool people to support.

I had never been to The Verge ( on 625 S Street in downtown Sacramento before.  I walked down the street and came across a flyer made on plastic posted to a pole.  I walked by the gallery and then walked down further to find another door that went into what looked like a reception desk area.  I could see the doorway to the room where the zine fest was taking place to the right of the desk.  I walked in to a nice sized room with lots of tables and people checking out different tables throughout the room.  The room had tables positioned like a figure eight so tables were along the walls except for the wall to the left and two islands of tables.  I first walked the outside tables and then went back to check the tables on the islands.  There were quite a few vendors with their wares.  It seemed pretty well attended.

I circled around the outside of the room first.  I came across a table of a variety of zines and realized these zines were being hosted by the Sacramento Public Library.  This was intriguing.  I decided to go visit the library a bit after the Sac Zine Fest to find out more info.  This first blog post is about the zine collection at the Sacramento Public Library.

Front Doors of Sacramento Library

I live in Davis so I don't make it out to the Sacramento Public Library too often.  I decided to go take a visit there with my girlfriend to check it out.  The zine collection is on the third floor of the Sacramento Public Library central branch.  I made it up there and found a small section dedicated to the zine collection.  I gathered some information and decided to conduct an interview with Nick Parker from the Sacramento Public Library about the zine collection they have going there over e-mail.  On a separate note, we also discovered that the Sacramento Public Library has a Makerspace on the third floor as well.  It is a room dedicated to 3-D printing, music creation, and virtual reality.  It was really cool.

OK, onto the interview...

R: First, please state who you are and what is your function at Sacramento Public Library and how it relates to the zine collection there.

NP: My name is Nick Parker and I’m a library assistant at Sacramento Public Library. In my role I facilitate the circulation of materials, and I love zines. If you want to really get to know a place, seek out its zines. There is a sense of freedom in zines you can’t find in any other types of publications because every step of the way, the creators report to no one but their own personal truths. There’s no one with a red pen looking over your shoulder. This has allowed zines to play an important role in supporting the voices of marginalized communities when they aren’t getting support anywhere else, to communicate safely, and to get their struggles seen and heard. It’s also allowed them to be a place for true self-expression for the sake of self-expression. Zines are beautiful, imperfect, and true. I really love zines.

R: I had heard that the zine collection at Sacramento Public Library started with the closure of the punk house, Casa de Chaos, and their wanting to donate their collected zines to the library. Is this true and if so, when and how did it take place?

NP: Well, yes but actually no. We already had a modest zine selection. It was started by my colleague and friend, Charlie Dale. But the Casa de Chaos donation jumpstarted our Historic Zine Collection. These are zines that are tied to Sacramento history and kept in a vault to be preserved theoretically, forever.

R: The zines are on the third floor of Central Library. Are there zine collections elsewhere in the library system? Are all the zines made in Sacramento? Do you have zines from elsewhere? Are they categorized by location and/or theme?

NP: There are! There is currently a modest zine collection at North Natomas Library. The general selections are going to have zines from anywhere, by anyone. Some of the zines were even created by community members during library programs. As you probably know, it can be exceedingly difficult to categorize zines, especially if there isn’t much information on them initially and they’ve been donated by a third party. Any way you slice it, there would be a huge MISC/UNKOWN section. They’re roughly categorized by theme and size.

R: How many zines are in the selection currently? Is there a catalog of the zines or plans to have them cataloged? Are there plans to reach out to any of the authors to get additional zines from them and maybe some extra information on their zines?

NP: Things are in constant state of flux. Because they are a special selection and not tagged like most materials in the library. We’ll reach out to creators to get information about their zines so we have that documented for the catalogue and we definitely want information about local creators. We love to receive donations but we have a very limited budget to acquire zines so we mostly request donations from those who are willing to part with a couple of copies.

R: If people want to look at the zines, what do they have to do? Do they need to be a member of the library?

NP: You don’t need anything to look at the zine selection — anyone is welcome to come and look at any of the zines. But you do need to make a special request in the Sacramento Room to view the historic zine collection. Because they’re a browsing-only selection both the general selection and historic zine collection need to stay at the library.

That said, having a library card is pretty cool. Anyone can get one on our website.

R: If someone wants to donate their zines to the library, how do they go about that? Does it have to be a zine they made themselves or will you take zines other people have made? Are there types of zines you will reject for the library? Do you only want one copy of a zine or do you see the need to have multiple copies of zines?

NP: We will accept donations in any form they come. We will accept donations from creators as well as collectors. If you live in the greater Sacramento area, you are a living part of the history of that place. Your choices, your preferences, your thoughts and feelings, and yes, the zines you choose to read, buy, swap, and create. It’s all living, breathing, history.

We ask that if you’re considering donating, to consider donating at least two copies. This is especially important for local creators. When we evaluate donations, if a zine is eligible to go in to the historic collection, one copy will go in there right away. But zines are meant to be seen and read, so the other copies will go out on to the shelves to be perused by any passersby.

R: I had heard the library is going to have a special zine event coming up. What is it called and what are the details of the event?

NP: We are hosting the Sacramento Zine Symposium! Over thirty tables for creators, vendors, small distros and publishers. There’ll be lightning talks by the creators and artists themselves sharing why zines are important to them. We’ll also be featuring a discussion panel focusing on the topic of zine distribution with special guest Doug Biggert ( and a creation space for all-ages. It’s on Sunday, July 21 from noon to 4 p.m. at Central Library. I hope to see you there!


OK, so there you have it!  Zines are all about.  Stay tuned to for more zine related posts!

Until next time... Keep it fun-tastic-ziney!

Cheerios and Tootle-pips!