Evanston Public Library hosts zine-making event for teens, promotes creativity and self-expression


Esther Lim/The Daily Northwestern

Eighth grader Naimah Sanni said her favorite part about the process was being able to think back through all the books she read in 2022.

Esther Lim, Reporter

Surrounded by markers, glue sticks, colored pencils, National Geographic magazines and colorful paper, Evanston Public Library assistant Ruby Gibson (Communication ‘22) hosted a zine-making event held in the Loft, the teen space of the library.  

With just a couple of folds and a quick snip at the center, she created a small booklet ready to be transformed into a zine — a self-published mini magazine — filled with art, collages, poems or stories.

Gibson said she discovered zines as a creative outlet during her downtime at work as she balances her library job with auditioning for theater productions. 

“I became really excited about [zines] as a tool of self-expression,” Gibson said. “I felt like it would translate really well to the teens in the Loft, because one of the one things I’ve observed about the teens that I’ve met here is that they’re all totally different and have really intense, very disparate passions.” 

Many staff at the library bring their own interests — from DJing to tabletop role-playing games —to the Loft, Gibson said. For her, this seemed like the perfect opportunity to bring her creative exploration to the library. 

She said she hopes to place copies of zines in the library for people to thumb through. 

“My dream is to have a little zine library here so that people can just make them whenever they want and take one or leave one,” Gibson said. “That’s kind of the spirit of zines, is that they can travel far and wide for little cost.” 

Among the attendees was eighth grader Naimah Sanni, who made a zine about her favorite nighttime reads of 2022.

The idea of a mini zine library stuck with Sanni: she was excited that her work would be appreciated, regardless of her age. 

“The things I do will be looked at by people,” Sanni said. “Just knowing that my work is valuable is something I’ll take away [from the event].”

Yolk by Mary H.K. Choi and The Music of What Happens by Bill Konigsberg stood out to Sanni, and she made sure to rate all novels 5 out of 5 stars.

Sanni said the activity also served as a nice walk down memory lane as she recalled all her favorite late-night reading memories. 

“I liked going through the whole last year and picking out which [books] really stood out to me and just remembering what it was like to read those books,” Sanni said.

Robert Crown Branch Library assistant Katrina Moravec also sat in for the event. As a new hire responsible for bringing more teen programs to the library, Moravec wanted to gain some insight about the teen events happening at the main branch.

She said she is particularly interested in emphasizing different methods of self-expression and creativity at her branch. 

“[Kids] can build these hobbies that don’t necessarily have to, especially when you’re a teen, lead anywhere,” Moravec said. “I want to encourage that side of things — as they grow older, to have those outlets.”

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Twitter: @EshLim1213

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