If you catch yourself meandering around Toronto’s Annex area or have been dragged to El Furniture Warehouse, maybe a change in scenery would be up your alley? Twice a week, on Tuesdays and Fridays from 6— 8 PM, all are welcome to hang out and exercise their brain with a bit of zine perusing at the reopened Toronto Zine Library, organized on the second floor of the Tranzac located at 292 Brunswick Avenue.
The Tranzac is a historic community art-space dedicated to supporting local artists in Toronto. Whether interests lay in the realm of cooking or styling (either hair or clothes), or in the realm of anarchy, gender and sexuality, there’s something on the shelf, pages upon pages of lived people’s self-published experience to glean.
During lockdown, volunteer manager and catch-all-zine-library-connoisseur Sylvia Nowak worked with the board and staff at the Tranzac, “to create a beautiful library space, and re-opening was a way of showing off the space and all the labour that went on during closure, and of sparking new energy towards the library.” I can attest to the welcoming, cozy alcove of a library it is.
“To me the space is important as an example of creativity, community and solidarity coming together without commercial expectations,” Nowak tells me. The repurposed, former cigar shop, wooden shelves standing strong as they showcase the plethora of zines, hold the ties of balloons and twinkle lights to give ambiance.
Nowak confirms that the circulation of renting out zine’s is on pause because of the amount of in-stock archiving there is to do. Although the zines are on hold for renting outside of the library, volunteers are always welcomed to help with the process of cataloging zines. Folks are also welcomed to submit their zines for this archive. Whether it be of their own making or of their own collection they no longer need (duplicate zines will not be accepted).
On any given Friday, you may catch volunteer Kai reading or crocheting, available for questions or to provide a visitor with a pay what you can Zine Mystery Pack! So run, don’t walk, to the Toronto Zine Library, on Tuesdays or Fridays (possibly with more nights to come!).