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Papercut Zine Library searches for a new home / by Emily Hopkins

I met Adrienne Naylor, a volunteer at Papercut Zine Library, at Lorem Ipsum on Monday, July 14th, after closing. The used bookstore was dark except for the fluorescent glow in the back, where until that day, Papercut had taken up shop. The shelves had been gutted, the more than 15,000 zines packed in boxes and relocated over the river to a house in Allston. The basement had a few stray zines and a box of VHS tapes, but except for these scraps, Papercut had vacated.

At the beginning of July, Papercut was given notice that they had two weeks to leave Cambridge's Lorem Ipsum Books, where they had been located since 2011. (That deadline has since been pushed back to August 1). News of the move was sudden, but not all that surprising.

The used bookstore is no stranger to financial hardship. In January 2013, the store held an Indiegogo campaign to raise $29,000 to avoid getting evicted and to try to innovate their business practices. In the next few months, though nothing is final, Lorem Ipsum will again try to innovate.

“Unfortunately, part of that requires utilizing the space that Papercut was previously occupying,” said Mitch Broesder, a Papercut librarian and Lorem Ipsum employee.

Moving locations is not new to the group. When they began lending zines in 2005, they were first housed in the Democracy Center, a multi-purpose meeting house in Harvard Square. They later moved to a third-floor space inside of a Somerville house. It was ultimately inaccessible, though: let alone being unavailable to those who can’t use stairs, the library was pretty secluded to everybody.

“People would have to ring the bell, and you’d have to run down three flights of stairs to let them in,” Naylor said.

Since Papercut moved to Lorem Ipsum three years ago, it’s seen various incarnations, depending on the state of the bookstore itself. For a while, the library inhabited a small corner in the front of the store while an MIT start up inhabited the back, where Papercut has intermittently been stationed. In the front, you still had access to their prolific collection, but most of it you would have to request by name.

Despite the painful process of moving, again and again, and having to seek out new homes after losing old ones, Papercut is optimistic. They are committed, no matter what the incarnation, to providing access to zines and community space and events.

“This is definitely a setback in the short term but I think times like this are really valuable for Papercut in terms of being able to take a longer look at what we want to do with ourselves as a collective and as an organization,” says Mitch.

For now, folks will have sporadic access to the zines and the temporary Papercut space in Allston. (Contact them via their website to find out when you can hang: If you still have zines to return, you can do so at the Lorem Ipsum space until August 1st.

Join Papercut Zine Library on Wednesday, June 23 at 7 p.m. at Lorem Ipsum for a community meeting to discuss the future of Papercut. "State of the Papercut Address An Open Community Meeting to Discuss Papercut’s Future" will provide a space to discuss the Papercut move, the temporary space, plus ideas and resources for the future.

Read zine reviews by Papercut librarians in issue 03, issue 08, and issue 31.

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