When 55 degree torrential downpours followed a subzero weekend, pipes burst and flooded Papercut Zine Library, soaking and damaging boxes containing several hundred to a thousand zines, many decades-old and irreplaceable. After consulting the New England Document Conservation Center (NEDCC), Papercut librarians quickly moved the soggy zines into the pizza freezer at the landlord’s restaurant across the street, but the zines can’t stay there, so we have to move fast. The NEDCC told us the only way to save the zines is to get them professionally vacuum freeze dried, which, between boxing and shipping and treatment at the facility in Pennsylvania, carries a ~$2,000 price tag.
This would break our bank several times over, but we’d rather have a broken bank than broken hearts for our space and our patrons to lose these precious zines and comics. If there’s a way to get them back into usable condition, we want to keep the collection preserved and available for browsing and circulation.
Papercut is a lending library of roughly 16,000 handmade, independently published, DIY materials. We boast 1,600 card-carrying patrons and attract casual browsers as well as visiting researchers. Our collection came to us through donations and continues to grow and attract local and international attention.
Since 2005, Papercut has endured as a staple of Greater Boston’s radical, punk, and creative zine-loving communities in a transient city where radical and creative efforts are short-lived, due to high cost of space and high human turnover. Papercut is an invaluable resource for radical materials difficult to find elsewhere.
We host community events including zine readings, zine making meetups and workshops, live music, and more. We regularly respond to requests to facilitate workshops with youth, university discussions, and pop up presences everywhere from museums to zine fests, and we relish these opportunities to bring zines into our community.
Papercut moved into its current home at 10 Ward Street in Somerville last June, and reopened to the public in September. Since its founding, Papercut has taken up residency across Somerville, Cambridge, and Allston, and we are now in our fifth location.
Papercut is approaching its 11th birthday this spring, and more than ever our small collective of longterm volunteer zine librarians craves stability amidst a steeper rent than ever. Together with innumerable additional volunteers, we hope to keep Papercut’s zines safe, doors open, and make the most of our zine shack.
While we need $2,000 in immediate emergency funds, we have been running low on rent money lately and haven’t even set up internet in the location we’ve been at for nearly a year, so our goal also reflects a year of rent. With your help, we may even be able to take care of internet and electricity!
Our revenue streams are generally restricted to DIY punk shows, membership donations (average $8), sales of merch (we’re lucky if we break even with the cost of supplies), and workshops at funded institutions. This is only our second fundraising drive in living memory, but we need to save these zines and keep the shack running!
Papercut is truly a labor of love. Although the sun may explode, Papercut will never die.