April 2013 | Rebecca Rego Barry

Outsiders in the Library

Screen shot 2013-04-02 at 10.32.35 PM.pngIf someone out there still thinks that book collecting and bibliography are stuffy endeavors singularly concentrated on pretty bindings and fine print -- take a gander at the program for this weekend's Symposium on the Book, focused on zines, samizdat, and alternative publishing. The biannual event is hosted by Chicago's Caxton Club--an exclusive collectors' club--and the Newberry Library, and co-sponsored by the Bibliographical Society of America. The topics at hand are self-produced books and pamphlets made "to express individualized, unconventional, controversial, or prohibited messages."

Speakers include Lisa Gitelman of New York University, Amateurs and Their Discontents, 1870-2000; Ann Komaromi of the University of Toronto, Inside, Outside, Around, and Through: Conceptualist Publishing in the U.S. and U.S.S.R.; and Jenna Freedman of Barnard College Library, Pinko vs. Punk: a Generational Comparison of Alternative Press Publications and Zines. A panel discussion on self-publishing will follow the talks.

A related exhibition will also be open for viewing. "Politics, Piety, and Poison," is an exhibition of French pamphlets from 1600-1800, some of them examples of alternative publishing, including an early crime "zine." 

Events begin at 8:30 a.m. on Saturday, April 6 at the Newberry Library. Free and open to the public. Quimby's Bookstore of Wicker Park will be at the event selling do-it-yourself and other alternative press materials.