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Aside from the questionable use of every colour in the stationery rainbow, both fluorescent and pastel, Lacey Hedtke’s Cereal Boxes and Milk Crates is a thoughtfully assembled introduction to zine libraries and infoshops. The first half features sections headed with probable questions from the uninitiated, such as “Why do these people need their own library? Can’t they just go to the public or academic library?” and “Who uses zine libraries? How do they find out about them?” There is, however, a certain knowing tone–common in zines about zines–which may put off the supposed target audience

At times, as well, the facts are cluttered by an unnecessary defensiveness, for instance in the section “Are zine libraries really libraries?” Hedtke affirms that “anyplace that provides access to information in a somewhat organized or searchable form, can be considered a library. The word library seems so authoritative and smarty-pants.” This token swipe at elitism fosters rather than alleviates the suspicion that independent media are somehow inadequate. A great deal of literature, both mainstream and alternative, is mediocre: it is to be hoped that the libraries Hedtke describes demonstrate some discrimination and, yes, authority in selecting the materials they house.

Cereal Boxes and Milk Crates’ real strength is in its latter half, which comprises an excellent bibliography and a handy list of zine libraries across North America. (Daniel Marrone)

zine, Lacey Prpic Hedtke, polkaostrich@gmail.com

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