The zine life of Matt

My name’s Matt, and I’m the zine intern. I work for & with Heidy Berthoud, Head of Technical Services. Since I’m the first zine intern my responsibilities vary day-to-day, but I mostly just help Heidy do whatever she needs done with our zines. As a student employee, I don’t do a lot of the metadata stuff, but I do read & research the zines so that I can summarize them for the online catalogs (yeah I wrote a lot of those awkward and incomplete zine descriptions). That part of the job is a lot of fun, and has helped me learn loads about zines that I never would’ve otherwise, which has been really helpful to me because I’m also writing about the archived zine for my thesis.

I also help with zine outreach stuff. Most of the library outreach takes place on campus, but I sometimes get to off campus events too, like the Poughkeepsie Mini Makers Faire, where the zine library hosted a table visited (to my surprise) by an hourly llama parade. I liked that. Most of the outreach work, however, is preparation and desk work – putting together Vassar Zine Library zines and zinemaking resource packets, meeting with other students making zines for their orgs, critiquing the Libguide, writing bits like this for the zine library…

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I’m lucky to have been given a lot of freedom directing my work, which I’ve really valued – especially since Vassar’s zine collection is so new. Heidy has been extremely considerate of my input on everything from shelving & display to database search terms & subject headings. I’ve also learned a lot about library operations while here (thanks Tracy for teaching me how to sew bindings!).

By the end of the semester I hope to create something (a zine?) to reflect my thoughts on the zine library, what I’ve gotten from working there, how I might change it in the future, that kind of stuff. Working in the zine library has shifted my understanding of library resources and their use, especially by allowing me to read some of the librarian-made zines in our collections, like Lower East Side Librarian, The Borough Is My Library, Librarians and Archivists to Palestine and others (see picture of some librarian-made zines below).

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Overall, I think I have the best student job on campus and I’m really thankful to be doing what I am. Also, I hope they renew this position for next year!

Note from Heidy:

Matt Higgins is our wonderful and gracious “zintern.” If you would like to know more about Matt or zines or the Vassar Zine Library, please join us on Wednesday, April 27th, for a Zines 101 workshop in the Class of ’51 Reading Room of the Main Library from 3:00-4:30.

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