Thanks to Tracy Honn and Leah Portz for contributing to this article.
Silver Buckle Press Director Tracy Honn took her show on the road to the Verona Public Library teen department at the end of November.
Teen Librarian Leah Portz (UW-Madison SLIS ’12) invited Tracy to facilitate a program at the library related to amateur printing and publishing in the nineteenth century – which might be considered a predecessor to the lively blog and zine culture of today. Tracy related her own experience in fixing up some of the small printing presses for Silver Buckle Press, and what she learned about the amateur print phenomenon along the way:
“Before [the 1860s] amateurs and non-professionals had little to no access to direct use of printing presses. Once people got their hands on presses they had a lot to say, and newspapers were the familiar form they used most. The results look a lot like blogs – not surprising since the Internet similarly has generated a “do it yourself” response regarding access to the newest publishing tools.”
The participants listened to a short presentation about the history of amateur printing, examined examples of contemporary prints and zines, and got to try their hand at using a small printing press.
Leah said that the teens were especially interested in the “vintage” ephemera that Tracy brought, including library card catalog cards. The hand-made nature of the work, Leah said, caught the teens’ attention: “These teens are regular attendees of Verona Public Library’s Teen Anime & Manga Group. The artistic nature of zines and the ease at which they can be made really appealed to them.”