Fan Culture Preservation Project

Do you have zines, fannish flyers, paper memorabilia, or con programs that you can’t keep anymore, but can’t bear to throw out? The Organization for Transformative Works (OTW) can help!

The Fan Culture Preservation Project is dedicated to preserving fan artifacts such as letterzines, fanzines, and other non-digital fanworks and memorabilia at partner libraries and other institutions. Please see the FAQ or contact the Open Doors committee for more information about donating zines or other physical artifacts of fan culture. (Other OTW projects, like the Archive of Our Own, Fanlore, and Open Doors, can help you preserve digital fanworks or artifacts.)

Why is Fan Culture Preservation important?

Protecting and preserving transformative fanworks and the innovative communities from which they have arisen is at the heart of OTW’s mission. Letterzines and fanzines are the tangible artifacts (and evidence of the existence) of the longstanding nature of our fan communities, many of which were historically underground. As our works are lost and people leave fandom or pass away, that history vanishes.

The OTW also believes in making fannish activities as accessible as possible to all those who wish to participate by putting these artifacts of fan culture in a central, accessible, nonprofit place. We are also exploring digitization options so that fans and scholars who cannot physically get to an institution can still have access to materials.

History of the Project

The Fan Culture Preservation Project began as a partnership between the OTW and the Special Collections department at the University of Iowa Libraries, and the OTW has helped many fans to establish named collections at Iowa (see the library’s page of Fandom-Related Collections).

As the number of fans looking to donate their collections and the number of institutions collecting fannish materials have grown, the Fan Culture Preservation Project has expanded to work with additional partners.