DIY gets its hands dirty during Olympia library's 24-Hour Zine Thing

Contributing writerJuly 4, 2013 

The Olympia library provides lots of art supplies for participants in the annual 24-hour Zine Thing, happening this Saturday, July 6.



    What: Olympia Timberland Library is hosting its fifth-annual zine-making challenge. Participants attempt to create their own 24-page zines in 24 hours — or they may choose to collaborate on a zine.

    When: Workshop runs from 2-8 p.m. Saturday

    Where: Olympia Timberland Library, 313 Eighth Ave. SE, Olympia

    Admission: Free

    More information: 360-412-4499,,

In the age of microblogs and online photosharing, zines are a throwback to a simpler time.

On Saturday, Olympia Timberland Library celebrates the do-it-yourself magazines with its fifth annual 24-Hour Zine Thing, the local version of an international challenge started in 2005 and found at

The Zine Thing challenges participants to create a 24-page zine in 24 hours. While there are no rules about how the zine is created, most people go to the library to do things the old-fashioned way during its six-hour workshop, which can provide the support participants need to either start or finish their zines.

Among the supplies the library will provide during its six-hour workshop: glue sticks, staplers and photocopiers. Event organizer Kelsey Smith of the Olympia library and Kelsie Raddas of the Yelm Timberland Library will be on hand to offer support. Snacks will be served.

While many zine-makers write and draw everything by hand, the biggest draw at the Zine Thing workshop is typewriters.

“That is the most popular part of this program, especially for teens and younger,” Smith said. “It’s this really novel sort of anti-technology for them. The first year that I brought typewriters, I had two, and there were fights over them. Now I try to bring at least four or five.

“Typing on a typewriter is really fun,” she said. “There’s some novelty to the noise. It’s a whole different experience than using a computer. You’re going to make mistakes and you have to deal with those. It makes you a little bit more intentional about things.”

Participants can create their own zines or contribute to a group zine or both. The idea of creating a community zine is a uniquely Olympia twist on the Zine Thing.

A couple of years ago, some people created single pages, Smith said. “A bunch of people thought that they were contributing to a collaborative zine,” she said. “I was like, ‘Well, no, but that would be cool.’ It just percolated into my brain again when I was getting ready to do it the following year.”

Last year, a collaborative zine — with the theme “Olympia” — became a formal part of the event. “They did this really amazing 40-page zine that has all these depictions of the area,” said Jeff Kleingartner, the library’s communications manager.

“We had some drawings by some 2- and 3- and 4-year-olds,” Smith said, “and then we had one woman who made a page about being a senior in Olympia and kind of everything in between.”

One 8- or 9-year-old girl did restaurant reviews. “She submitted a bunch of reviews of grilled cheese sandwiches in Olympia,” Smith said. “There was a real wide variety of items that ended up in this zine.”

This year, the library put the topic up for a vote at the library and on Facebook. The winning theme: “True Confessions.”

The library will give away copies of the group zine and display copies of individual zines in a display case during the month of July.

And, in case you’re wondering: No one will be monitoring how long creators spend working on their zines, said Smith, who is in charge of the Olympia library’s zine collection. (The Yelm and Shelton libraries recently started zine collections, too.)

“I think of it as an opportunity for people to challenge themselves, but I don’t know how many people complete their 24 pages in 24 hours,” she said. “I have never actually managed to complete a full 24-page zine in 24 hours, but I have started zines during this challenge and then finished them a week or two later.

“It’s a way to put some pressure on yourself to be creative and focus on something for a while.”

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