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An article by Alexa Färber , Marion Hamm and Alessia Scuderi
1 March 2023, 12:50
Care for Zines! Everyday Impressions from a library

What’s zine making got to do with libraries, and how does it relate to care? In case of the international research project Infrastructuring Libraries in Transformation (ILIT), care was the topic of a first workshop with librarians who work within the municipal network of Vienna public libraries. The function of libraries is in motion here as in many other cities - they not only promote education and knowledge, but are also places of coming together, of democratic exchange, of care. How do librarians experience this development? On February 8th this year, eight librarians met at Vienna’s main city library, the Hauptbücherei am Gürtel, one of two research sites of the project’s Austrian part. They reflected on their role, developed and brought together their thoughts in the form of a zine.

The multifaceted associations around the English word ‘care’ showed that amongst German speakers, the term encompasses a wide range of activities librarians engage in: from looking after, caring, listening, to making oneself available and working with people, to enabling participation for all people, to participating oneself. From the librarians' point of view, care is all about being there: ‘Dasein’.

This is now also the title of the zine, which visually gathers the impressions collected in the morning during two working sessions with the help of eight explorative tasks. The small and fine package of task cards, designed by Alessia Scuderi, encouraged mapping, sketching and noting down observations made in Vienna’s main public library. Assembled in a zine, these impressions symbolize or realize the meaning of care, and also express visions for future practices of librarizing.

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