Fanzine Reading Room

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Synonyms: Zine Reading Room, Zine Reading Library. 'Zine Reading Library, Zine Library
See also: Fanzine Library
Karen Eaton's drawing for unspecified convention fanzine library - Fandom is (Wild Wild West)
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Many cons host/hosted a Fanzine Reading Room. The main function of a Fanzine Reading Room is to give the con attendees the best chance to see the widest possible array of fandom's creative efforts in print form and to give con attendees a chance to see and read fanzines that they did not have other access to. Fans could either loan or donate zines to the room. While the phrase 'Fanzine Reading Room' was used at conventions, both fans and convention organizers would also call these collections 'Fanzine Libraries'; however the collections could only be accessed during the convention and all zines had to be returned by the end of the con, unlike a traditional fanzine library.

The first Fanzine Reading Room was at the Star Trek World Expo Convention in New York City in 1978. A fan in A Piece of the Action #61 reports that "the zines were loaned by the Paterson (N.J.) Public Library from their large collection. Copies of old and current zines were avidly scanned and probably enjoyed. The Paterson Library is unique, as far as we know, in having such a collection. Roberta Rogow of Trekindex is responsible for the Library starting the collection and many zine publishers have generously donated copies for the collection... Hopefully, we will hear of other collections in public libraries in the future, now that fans know it can be done."

From Media*West 2002: "With the increasing diversity of the Fan Q Awards and of fandom itself, the 'Zine Room has become the area to display Fan Q nominated material lent to it by the nominees. This gives voters a chance to see a wider array of items before making their votes... The Fanzine Reading Room is located in the very comfortable Executive Travellers Lounge directly across from the hotel reception desk. If there are enough GoFers, the room will be open 24 hours a day. If there are not enough GoFers, then the operating hours will be posted. Volunteer to be a GoFer!"[1]

As time passed, Media*West's 'Zine Room became a fanzine archive with a permanent loan collection of over 400 classic and out-of-print zines. In 2002, permanent loan collection was cut down greatly in size when many of the zines were donated to The Fanzine Archives."

From Escapade 2010: "The Zine Library at Escapade is a slice of fannish history just waiting to be explored. It contains over 300 titles in more than 40 fandoms... During the convention, the zines are available in the Con Suite, and can be read there or checked out for all or part of the weekend. Between conventions, the Zine Library is stored, cataloged and transported to and from the hotel by the lovely and talented Dail. We welcome all permanent donations of fanzines to the library, as well as temporary (for the duration of the convention) loans. Editors, this is a great way to promote your fanzines!" [2]

In more recent years, with the advent of online fiction, fanzine reading rooms have become fewer. In 2010, the Bascon Zine Reading Library sold off its collection due to declining interest.


Conventions which had Fanzine Reading Rooms (not a comprehensive list, supply dates and numbers where available)

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