The Barnard Zine Library houses an extensive and diverse collection of women’s voices, displaying more than 5,000 open access zines — self-published magazines or booklets — built around themes of activism and self-expression.

“The Zine Library exposes students, staff, and faculty to a range of viewpoints and storytelling styles they might not expect to see on an Ivy League library shelf,” said Jenna Freedman, director of the Barnard Zine Library.

On display atop one of those shelves is “Hispanic Heritage Zines,” a collection curated in 2022 by Nayla Delgado ’24 to honor Hispanic heritage, culture, and the influence of Hispanic Americans in the United States. Delgado — the Zine Library’s student assistant — also created a companion guide that offers easy access to abstracts for each zine in the heritage collection, which includes publications from artists in Spain and Latin America.

Hispanic Heritage Zines slideshow 1
Hispanic Heritage Zines slideshow 2

“In the same way that zines cannot be defined in a singular way, ‘Latino’ and ‘Hispanic’ are not the definitive terms they are presented to be,” said Delgado, who is majoring in English, with a concentration in creative writing, and minoring in translation studies. “None of the Hispanic heritage collection zines convey a singular, monolithic experience. Instead, they include different voices, and their nuances offer us a better understanding of what the Hispanic or Latinx cultural experience is.”

To learn more about how zines offer artists and readers an ideal medium to celebrate cultural expression, read Delgado’s Students Share essay below.

Nayla Delgado '24 headshot

Nayla Delgado ’24: Zines were new to me [when] I began working as an assistant for the Barnard Zine Library in my sophomore year. My favorite aspect of the zine format is that it’s difficult to define. I’m often asked, “What is a zine?” and with every zine I pick up and peruse, there is a wildly different answer. 

Where the hierarchies of publishing and academia have consistently marginalized voices, zines present a platform of possibility. When zines enter the classroom, they make way for collaborative skill-building, the expansion of topic-knowledge through research, and broadened digital literacy among teachers and learners. The zine is often an underestimated pedagogical resource, but Barnard’s collections add immense value to the College community.

Given how personal the nature of zine-building can be, my choice to highlight Hispanic heritage showcases how zines can complicate and expand upon a larger idea or thought. In 2021, my library assistantship led me to a passion project involving bilingualism and translation. I began to translate the abstracts of zines from English to Spanish, since zines are commonly presented in English even if they are created in Spanish. I also began writing summaries of Spanish-language zines found in the CLIO database. My translation enabled interested students and researchers to find themselves in the same language of the zine — the intended language. 

 The zine is often an underestimated pedagogical resource, but Barnard’s collections add immense value to the College community.

Nayla Delgado ’24

This experience built my knowledge of the Spanish-speaking world and my ability to select, curate, and compile zines to celebrate Hispanic heritage from the angles of voice and identity. Eventually, the translation project led to the production of the Hispanic Heritage Month display in 2022 and 2023, along with its virtual companion guide.

Nayla Delgado '24 in zines library

One of my favorite zines from the collection is Niñas Fuimos, by Chilean artist Nata Cavieres Pasmiño, because it has beautiful watercolor paintings of childhood photographs that radiate nostalgia. I also love the series Malcriada by Suzy X and its reflection on being a Latina woman. The series contains comics that get to the core of issues of language, identity, and the contradictions of assimilation. 

I’ve found a great sense of joy in seeing how my work has been integrated into the classroom, with zines functioning as source texts. For example, the curated zines in the Hispanic Heritage Zines online guide have been used in Spanish II classes taught by [lecturer] Almudena Marín Cobos to discuss questions of identity and belonging, while observing how language plays a large role in that.

I’m also grateful for the freedom that the Barnard Zine Library grants each of its student assistants to curate the on-site space to fit the needs of community members. After graduation, I plan to continue writing and translating — hoping that I can create spaces for others to do so, too.