Earlier this month, several thousand people roamed over two floors of a Columbia College building for the 4th annual Chicago Zine Fest. Moving through the youthful crowd was Sarah Wenzel, bibliographer for Literatures of Europe and the Americas at the University of Chicago’s Regenstein Library.
Wenzel has been a zine fan since 2000. She gravitated to Quimby’s, the North Avenue bookstore that is an unofficial clubhouse for zine lovers, soon after arriving in Chicago in 2007.
Quimby’s philosophy, according to store manager Liz Mason, is to “sell hard-to-find, weird, aberrant, saucy or lowbrow printed matter.” Wenzel started the Regenstein Library’s Chicago zine collection in 2010. She curated a show of 79 zines in its Special Collections Gallery titled, “My Life is an Open Book: DIY Autobiography,” which runs through April 13.
We met in the gallery for this edited exchange on zine culture and creativity.