The Barnard Zine Library was featured in The New York Times for its MTA Zine Residency, a two-day event organized by librarian Jenna Freedman and archivist Shannon O'Neill. The residency was conceived as an opportunity to foster creativity and activism on public transit, a space that is not generally known for being conducive to such activity. On the first day of this residency, participants spent the better part of a day riding the subway while writing, drawing, and collaging. The second day took place on the Staten Island Ferry.
An excerpt from the Times article:
Jenna Freedman, the zine librarian at Barnard, said that the relative quiet and lack of phone and Internet connections made the subway a natural place to compose zines.
“There really is a pleasure to writing while you’re in motion,” she said. “I’ve always felt that time is most my own.”
Despite the initials in its name, the event was organized without the knowledge or collaboration of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority, which runs the subway system. The peaceful takeover of the subway car reflected the do-it-yourself spirit that is a basic prerequisite to zine making, said the other organizer, the archivist Shannon O’Neill.
The Barnard Zine Library is home to the largest circulating collection of zines in an academic library. The collection focuses on zines written by women (cis- and transgender), with an emphasis on zines by women of color. The zines are personal and political publications on activism, anarchism, body image, gender, parenting, and other topics.