In an age of texting, tweeting, and LOL-inducing memes , putting out a print zine  may sound a little 20th century. But there’s something to be said for publishing a story you can have and hold.
This summer, the Library is asking KC area youth to send in their homespun works of art and letters to produce a brand-new zine for and by teens.
Zines, for those not in the know, are handmade (often photocopied) magazines containing comics, fiction, poetry, essays, and other ephemera that usually reflect a subculture or community outside the mainstream.
Kansas City has been home to many zines over the years. Thanks to the recent efforts of Library worker Stephanie Iser, the Missouri Valley Room now is home to a growing zine collection .
Now, the Library wants local teens to put their thoughts to ink and paper to create a zine of their own.
“Self-publishing through Twitter, Facebook, and blogging is great, but with those tools there’s a format you have to follow,” says Central Youth Services teen associate Wick Thomas, creator of the project. “With a zine, you have complete control over the design, the content, and the way it’s distributed.”
For Thomas, zines have a staying power that tweets and bytes don’t.
“There’s something more impactful about picking up a zine, taking it somewhere, and reading it,” he says. “If you read something online, it won’t stick with you the way it would if you found it in a coffee shop.”
Thomas says he had been wanting to make a zine for years, but it took a little urging from Iser to get him to move. (“She lit a fire under me,” he says.) Additionally, Thomas found himself with an ad hoc zine editorial board following the success of his National Novel Writing Month  program in November 2011.
“We were done with NaNoWriMo, and we were looking for a way to get the teens’ works published, so we decided to self-publish,” Thomas says.
In addition to honing their own written words, Thomas and his group of novel-writers-turned-zine-editors are currently fielding submissions from all over the city. They welcome contributions of artwork, writing, and anything else that area teens think is fit to print. The deadline for the as-yet-unnamed zine is currently July 1, 2012, though that may be extended.
Once the submissions have been collected and filtered, the editors will produce both print and online version of the zine – and they’ll decide on a name, too. Print versions will be sent to all Library locations, and copies will be added to the catalog for future zinemakers to check out.
“We’ve got a lot of amazing teens in Kansas City who don’t have a way to get published, and we just wanted to show them that this is possible,” Thomas says.
If you’re interested in submitting your work (or if you know a teen who might be), e-mail Wick at firstname.lastname@example.org .
About the Author
Jason Harper  is the web content developer and social media manager at the Kansas City Public Library.