At the weekend i was lucky enough to make my first visit to the 56a Infoshop in London.
I was there to check out the newly re-launched zine library that is established there. Volunteers Colette and Melissa have been working really hard to catalogue and organise the mammoth number of zines in the collection - from comix zines to perzines, music zines to spirituality zines, queer to anarchist zines, feminsm to race, and beyond - there's a huge amount of amazing work collected there, and well worth an hour or two of your browsing time! It really does capture the wealth and importance of self-publishing.
The zine library is also on the look-out for even more zine donations though, so do consider sending them yours. Melissa and Colette are always on the lookout for people to help them catalogue all the zines they have too, so get in touch with them if you have an eye for zines!
Also, it appears that there are a large amount of duplicates in their collection, so the 56a zine library are keen to send such duplicates to other (preferably UK based, for postage reasons) zine libaries, and build on the community, collaboration, and wealth of zine resources available UK-wide.
The 56a infoshop itself was dizzying and overwhelming - packed to the rafters with leaftlets, resources and information, a radical open-access archive/research library, plus zines, music, coffee and books for sale - I could have spent an absolute fortune! There's also bike maintanance facilities/workshops, advice on practical squatting, a book exchange, free cinema screenings, and a plethora of other things... Mind blowing!
Attached to the infoshop is Freeshare food co-op, a fair-trade wholefoods shop with pulses, spices, organic veg and more.
My favourite thing was perhaps the kitchen and toilet space, and not just because of the pancakes being made there on the day I went! The space is covered with posters from the 'Celebrate People's History' project (which I think I'll devote a whole blog post to an other day); just so very inspiring.
Here's to my next visit!