Today we continued our zine collections of NYC crawl and found ourselves at the glorious Stephen A. Schwarzman branch of the New York Public Library. Here we met with Karen Gisonny, librarian for Periodicals and Journals and keeper of the zine collection. Karen started us off with a brief tour and background of the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room. Because this collection, like all those found at the Schwarzman building, is for research purposes, the stacks are closed. But a quick glance at the NYPL webpage provides patrons with a list of the zine titles included in the collection, a convenient tool to compensate for the inability to browse.
Karen then brought us up to a room to discuss the collection and take a look at some examples of the zines within. Like kids in a candy store, we excitedly perused the table strewn with a large variety of titles Karen had handpicked for us. As we leafed through copies of Constant Rider and Nancy’s Magazine (the later being Karen’s first acquisition in the ’90s), we spoke of the collection at this point, of its past and its future. We also caught her up on what was happening with our own budding collection at Brooklyn College. It was very informative for us to discuss the choices that had been made for a collection that was, at its start, a unique one. We are fortunate to be able to learn from pioneers such as Karen. And with this knowledge we press on – with patience and fortitude – working to find the best ways to make zines accessible to the Brooklyn community and beyond.