New York City, NY
The term “alternative press” is used by librarians, publishers, authors, and artists to group together forms of print that diverge from the production and distribution methods of conventionally published materials. As a platform for both personal expression and social justice activism, this alternative print culture continues to play a vital role in the dissemination of information not included in mainstream publications. Although the hierarchy between conventionally and alternatively published media is far from balanced, the initiatives taken by marginalized communities to personally represent their lived experiences is a radical attempt to equalize the production, distribution, and consumption of information.
The New York Public Library has sought to preserve alternative publications since its in the late 19th century. One of the first of its kind, the Library’s Alternative Press and Zine Collection greatly expanded during the 1960s with the proliferation of independent publications and literary magazines. Today, NYPL remains committed to acquiring and preserving both historical and contemporary alternative press materials. On display now in the DeWitt Wallace Periodical Room is a selection of some of the Library’s more recent works, including pieces documenting the Occupy movement and other social justice issues, demonstrating how the genre continues to flourish even amid the rise of digital communication.
Credit: Exhibition overview from museum website.