Just got an email from the Zine Archive and Publishing Project's Managing Director, Graham Isaac regarding ZAPP's closure. It's billed as an "Official PR statement." We're reprinting the statement in its entirety, using their bolds. There has been one update to the statement, which I detail below in an update on this post.
Effective immediately Seattle Public Library will be taking over storage, programming, and access to ZAPP's collection of over 30,000 zines. The collection was donated by the Richard Hugo House to SPL without ZAPP's knowledge or consent, taking advantage of an veto-option expiration clause in a contract with ZAPP. Said contract stated that RHH maintained formal ownership of the collection until such a time as ZAPP found a permanent home for it. As such, in the years since leaving RHH, the entirely volunteer-run crew at ZAPP have been searching for a space that could safely and permanently house the growing archive, all while fundraising, consulting with experts in non-profit growth, and maintaining a presence in the community through tabling, programming and releasing compilation zines. We were not given a deadline or any indication that this deal was in the works; there was a good-faith agreement that RHH would support ZAPP in its efforts. ZAPP as an organization will close, and the funds we have raised to date will be donated to Short Run Festival, Hollow Earth Radio, and the IPRC in Portland.
So what does this mean? On the upside, the Zines will be safe, and eventually available to the public and browsable once again. We here at ZAPP have held this as our goal since RHH decided to use the former ZAPP space for a classroom, and it is good to know the zines will be safe and accessible. SPL has begun assessment of the collection and will be deciding the exact wheres and hows of making the zines publicly available as this process goes on. We are cautiously optimistic that SPL will do this incredible collection justice.
However, ZAPP has always operated with a goal of complete independence, and many of the volunteers, donors, and supporters over the years have helped out with a fully independent ZAPP in mind. It is not unreasonable to think that had knowledge of this sale been available beforehand, many folks would have kept their money. For years we were working methodically to find a space that was big enough, safe enough and would give the archive room to grow. In 2015 we had a record fundraising year and we continued to build and structure the organization so it could be sustainable for years into the future. That said, as an official organization, it no longer makes sense for us to continue without access to the zines. We trust that the larger community and communities that met, started, or grew out of ZAPP will continue to thrive in various iterations for years to come.
We do not plan to make this a legal fight, as once again, the zines are safe. But given all the hard work put into ZAPP over the years, as well as all the support and donations we've received, it is important that we make it clear: we did not give up the archive, it was taken from us.
Both I, personally, and ZAPP collectively want to thank everyone who donated zines, time, money, energy, or just stopped by to say hi over the last twenty-odd years.
I have emails out to Hugo House and Seattle Public Library. I'll let you know when they respond.
UPDATE 2:20 pm: Isaac amended the original post to clarify that the collection was not, to his knowledge, sold by the Hugo House to Seattle Public Library. He changed the word "sold" to "donated." The original text read, "The collection was sold by the Richard Hugo House to SPL without ZAPP's knowledge or consent, taking advantage of an veto-option expiration clause in a contract with ZAPP." Nothing else has been changed.