New Zines Collection and Collaboratory Event

A sample of some of the zines in Vassar College Libraries

A sample of some of the zines in Vassar College Libraries

When we tell people we are staring a zine collection in the Vassar Library, we usually see one of two reactions, excitement or confusion: excitement over the potential this amazing format has to offer our community, but confusion, because many don’t really know what a zine is. Learn more about our zine collection and how you can help contribute to it!

What is a zine?

Zines are a DIY, self-published medium, incorporating voices and narratives frequently absent from more traditional publishing venues, with “zine” pronounced like “magazine” (without the “maga” part, as Alex Wrekk succinctly instructs us in Stolen Sharpie Revolution).

Why are you starting a collection at the library?

We feel that zines are one venue through which our community can express itself. With the college having opened up many lines of dialogue on campus in the past few years, the library thought that zines might offer another way for some to voice their thoughts and feelings. Not everyone wants to speak in front of a crowd; many prefer or simply enjoy the medium of writing and drawing and creating.

How can I contribute?

Right now, we are in the early stages of planning the space and the collection, but we always welcome donations from the community! Please contact if you have a zine you would like us to add to our zine library. Currently the collection resides in a librarian’s office, but we are working on developing a public home for the zines in the main library. In the meantime, if you want to help us get our collection started, please join us in the Collaboratory from April 21-26.

What will you do with the zines?

Well, we’d love to preserve and share them just like we do other materials (books, periodicals, video, etc.)! We plan to share them with the public in a cozy new zines area, where they can be read and shared ad infinitum. Additionally, we are looking into the idea of digitally preserving the zines which we receive from the Vassar community, in hopes that they can be viewed and used by future generations of Vassar students who want to learn more about everyday Vassar life and culture in the 2010s. (Much like how we can use the Vassar diaries collection today!)

So what’s up with the Collaboratory?

The Collaboratory is Vassar’s Creative Arts Across Disciplines trailer, which is currently parked on the quad outside of Rocky. (You can learn more about the program in this Misc article, and check out their inspirational student-curated page here.) During the week of April 21-26, the Zine Library team will be hosting a zine-creating event which will open its doors to the public daily, inviting everyone and anyone to drop in and create. Your zine can be one page or many, small or large, singular or the beginning of a collection! Come draw, write, design, or do a little bit of everything. Ask us if you’d like ideas and inspiration. We would love to help you get started!

Where can I learn more?

Glad you asked! Please look to as we continue to update the space with information and connections. In the spirit of zines, we welcome collaboration and input.

New Faces in the Library: Arianna Schlegel

Last September, Vassar College Libraries welcomed a new librarian, Arianna Schlegel.

 Q. What work do you do at Vassar College Libraries?

I am the Metadata & Systems Librarian, which is a new role here at the library. I help take care of many of the software systems that keep our library running, especially our online catalog so that patrons can look up materials, locate them in our vast collection, and then check them out. I also support systems like those that run some of our research websites and our interlibrary loan, so I am lucky to get to work with a lot of different areas of the library, which I love.

Q. Have you worked at other libraries before coming to Vassar?

I worked at several academic libraries in Connecticut – two of the state universities, and one community college. Before that, my only “library job” prior to library school was actually here, in Vassar’s Art Library – I reshelved books during the winter break of my junior year! I must admit, more often than not you could find me with my nose buried in one of the books that I was supposed to be shelving…I learned so much about art and art history that winter!

Q. What did you do there, and how is it different from your work here?

I have been lucky enough to have had the chance to try my hand at a bunch of different aspects of library science. At Central Connecticut State University, I got to really dig into the digital collections, particularly the CT Gay & Lesbian Film Festival archives, and was able to create exhibits and code custom pages using APIs. At Capital Community College, I got to customize the online catalog and work as a reference librarian, which included sitting the desk and teaching information literacy classes. And at Western Connecticut State University, I got to focus on electronic resource access and website redesign. I really loved all of the things I’ve gotten to try, and I think that variety of experiences has really informed the beginning of my work here at Vassar.

Q. Why do you like (or not like) working in libraries?

I am an information sponge. I want to always, always be learning, a little bit about as much as I can, and I feel that libraries are the best venue for that! Working with people who are performing research on topics I am unfamiliar with just forces me outside of my known comfort zone and I feel as if I learn something new every day, something I might not have encountered outside of the library world. And of course, working at a library feeds my literature addiction.

Q. What are your interests outside of work?

I am an obsessive knitter and compulsive reader (so perhaps a somewhat stereotypical librarian? — but, I don’t own any cats!).  I have been known to binge-watch Netflix. And I love to bake. I dabble in small electronics, as well (I am passionate about bringing makerspaces in to libraries, as I feel they are an ideal match). Mostly, in line with my library tastes, if I can learn anything new, I love to give it a try. It might not always be up my alley, but I never know unless I check it out.

Q. You have an adorable dog.  Tell us about her!

Her name is Fall – not, as I originally assumed, because of her fawn-colored fur, but because she is, in fact, a total klutz. She is an Akita, quite small for her breed, which is a blessing for me because she can be a handful at times! Despite being almost 7 years old, she still looks like a puppy, so I can’t ever stay mad at her for long.

New Faces in the Library

In September 2013, Vassar College Libraries welcomed a new librarian, Rachelle Ramer.

Q. What work do you do at Vassar College Libraries?

A. I am the Research Librarian for the Sciences, which means I am the liaison to Astronomy, Biochemistry, Biology, Chemistry, Cognitive Science, Computer Science, Earth Science, Environmental Studies, Mathematics, Neuroscience & Behavior, Physics, and Psychology, and the Program for Science, Technology and Society. As a liaison I work with students and faculty to find, access and use information resources within the discipline, and to strengthen their skills in doing so.  Additionally, I am responsible for developing Vassar’s collection in my liaison areas.

Q. Have you worked at other libraries before coming to Vassar?

A. Before coming to Vassar, I was working at the Grainger Engineering Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Q. What did you do there, and how is it different from your work here?

A. My work there was similar, but here I have greater responsibilities, work with all the sciences, and I get to work more with students and classes on information literacy skills.

Q. Why do you like (or not like) working in libraries?

A. I love that I never know what questions I’ll get to help answer each day; I’m always learning new things.  I’m also passionate about working with scientific information to support research and education.

Q. What are your interests outside of work?

A. I enjoy traveling, visiting aquariums, and learning and trying new things.  Since coming to Poughkeepsie, I’ve been experimenting with cooking using locally grown food.  I’m proud to be a nerd and particularly enjoy playing all types of games.  I also love puzzles and theater, books, and movies.

Please join us in welcoming Rachelle to the Vassar College Libraries!