Written by Johnathan Haile
At the moment, there are three outlets for teen content at the Pasadena Library. We have the Teen Zine, the Teen Blog, and the Teen Instagram page. The Teen Zine (my main focus) only releases an issue every six months, which doesn’t really give much to relevancy or consistency, meaning people don’t anticipate the issues. As a new addition to the teen outlets, I propose the Teen Minizine– a smaller, simpler, more frequent zine– that keeps up with the time.
The teen minizine would exist as a counter to the library’s Teen Zine (megazine). Whereas the megazine focuses inwards, the minizine will focus outwards, sending its writers to find interesting things to report outside of the library. It will keep its readers intrigued with a combination of humor and interesting articles, while still making sure that it represents everyone. It will utilize some of the same software as the megazine, but on a smaller scale, so its graphics will be much simpler, and it won’t use color pages.
The minizine will promote itself through a combination of word-of-mouth and a pass-it-on idea that will allow it to reach farther than just the library patrons. Due to the limited budget, this can allow a smaller number of copies to get into the hands of a larger number of teens.
Content-wise, the minizine will mainly show teens doing things that they think are important or meaningful, and may also include satirical commentary on news. One possibility is the inclusion of a serial story series, written by teens about teens. Another is a sort of choose-your-own-adventure where the story is written through submissions to the minizine, so that not even the writers know what will happen next.
Here at the library, there are untapped resources that can be leveraged to create content for the minizine and the megazine. The Teen Writer’s Club, and the book reviewers have members who know how to write confidently, and so could create stories or poems or articles for the minizine. Right now, the Teen blog and the zine members make the zine content, which means there are people who aren’t given opprotunity to display their skills.
Currently, the biggest weakness of the minizine is that less than ten people know about it. However, if three of those people distributed 10 or 15 issues at their school, the minizine could be seen by a possibly infinite number of people. The biggest strength of the minizine is its adaptability. Since all it needs to be published is a printer, it can be made from anywhere, anytime, and each copy can be redistributed at locations across the country if there was a demand for it. Another strength is how often it’s produced. Unlike the biannual Teen Zine, the minizine can give commentary on relevant issues of the month, perhaps even the week.
These factors combine to give the minizine an open window into library publications. Even with a low budget, it can still create an impact, and it can inspire teens to pursue their own dreams.