(Tomorrow afternoon at 2:30 pm at the Vera Project, the Zine Archive and Publishing Project will be hosting a public meeting to discuss the future of ZAPP. All are welcome. It's free.)
Here's the thing: The Zine Archive and Publishing Project (ZAPP) has got to move. ZAPP began as a Hugo House project back in the literary center's early days, when House cofounder Frances McCue's husband, Gary Greaves, donated his personal collection of a couple hundred zines to the House in 1996. With more zines donated from individuals and organizations around the world, the collection now stands, Hugo House program director Brian McGuigan estimates, at somewhere between 20,000 and 30,000 zines strong. It may very well be the largest zine collection in the United States—or the world.
ZAPP has always been more than just a storehouse of paper—it was also a space where young people could get together to make their own zines, attend workshops, and hang out. ZAPP became a resource for homeless teens, some of whom lived in a bus in front of Hugo House. McCue writes in an e-mail: "The first magazine produced by ZAPP was FOREIGN SUBSTANCE, and the inaugural issue had shellacked lunch meat on the front. (Our dog ate some of the covers and barfed them up all over the house.)"
But in more recent years, Hugo House has neglected ZAPP. The library moved from its clubhouse-like basement digs to a cramped room on the second floor. It's only open 12 hours a week now. When Nora Mukaihata, ZAPP's archive and library manager, resigned last year, Hugo House didn't replace her. Now the library is volunteer-managed and -operated, and incoming materials aren't all being cataloged, and nobody has time to program the workshops and events that a library the size of ZAPP deserves.
Last month, McGuigan and Hugo House executive director Tree Swenson met with 15 key ZAPP supporters (including McCue, cartoonists David Lasky and Kelly Froh, and the six-person, all-volunteer managing committee) and explained that it's time for the organizations to part ways...