The Zine Project: Short Creative Works By and For Middle Schoolers

Photo of Natalie Roche

October 26, 2021

By Natalie Roche

Categories: Collections, Kids & Families, Spotlight

I hope by now you’ve been able to visit our newly renovated Youth Services department, located in the lower level of the Library. You’ll notice we have a new Middle School Space, which is just to the right when you step off the elevator. There you’ll find middle school reads, study tables, board games, a TV and comfy chairs, and finally, The Zine Project.

zine project logo


What's a zine?

So what is a zine? Zines (pronounced “zeens”) are mini self-published, magazine-shaped works that can be about anything at all. They often use a mixture of pictures and words to tell a story or a communicate an idea.

Some zines will teach you something new, while some tell a personal story. They may make you laugh or make you cry, they can be fiction or nonfiction. All of this is up to the person who creates the zine.

And for The Zine Project at our Library, we’re asking you to be the creator! You’ll see that on our zine board, currently we only have sample copies. However, our goal is to eventually display only zines made by local middle schoolers.


What should my zine be about?

So where can you get ideas for content? Graphic novels are a great resource for ideas, and we have a new graphic novel section in the Middle School space for you to browse.

Think about your own personal preferences and experiences as well:

  • When you read, what genres do you gravitate towards?
  • What people, places, and things do you like to learn about?
  • What’s something that’s happened to you in your life that you think others will relate to or that you want them to know?

Whatever it is, we want your voice to be heard!


Zine Project display


How do I make a zine?

But how do you go from a blank piece of paper to a completed zine? You can find guidelines and instructions for folding your zine next to the zine display in the Middle School Space (or download them here). There we also have paper, pencils, pens, and colored pencils for in-library use to make your piece look as nice and complete as possible.

You’re also welcome to take the instructions and create your zine with materials you have at home. Please see our samples on the zine board for inspiration. You don’t have to consider yourself an artist or a writer to make a zine. Anyone is welcome to participate!


Things to keep in mind

We do have a few rules and guidelines we ask that you follow, and otherwise what you make is up to you:

  1. Include your name or a pen name on the zine.
  2. You may give us your contact information, but please do not put it directly on your zine.
  3. Your zine should look good printed on a copier. This means that lines should be dark, and your work should stay within the copy margin.
  4. Submit completed zines only – feel free to take your time to make it look finished. Please make sure to fold your zine following the directions listed.
  5. Only submit works that you feel comfortable being read by other people.
  6. Keep in mind that materials in Youth Services are for Grades 8 and under.
  7. Please turn your finished zines in at the Youth Services Desk. We ask that you limit your submissions to two zines per month.
  8. Zines will be selected for display by librarians. We will keep all the originals on file for you to collect if you would like them back.

We look forward to seeing what you create!

Natalie Roche is a Youth Services Librarian at Morton Grove Public Library.