Library Zines


Portsmouth Public Library has created a variety of publications in recent years. Read on for all past issues of our zines, and The Parrott Magazine!

Portsmouth 400 Zine

Welcome to Portsmouth Public Library’s celebratory Portsmouth 400 Zine! As the curtain fell on 2023, we found ourselves reflecting on the year-long historical exploration, celebration, and commemoration of Portsmouth’s anniversary. The library staff participated or collaborated, directly and peripherally, in many of the 400th Committee-planned parades, picnics, feasts and festivals, lectures and performances. The city was abuzz with activity celebrating a whirlwind of history and community that has left an indelible mark on our collective memory. However, amidst the revelry it is important to remember that 400 years is but a blink in the history of this beautiful place we now call Portsmouth.

This collection of anecdotes, stories and pictures was drawn together by library staff as a way to digest our city’s vast history, as well as the celebratory events of the past year. Of course, this zine is not an exhaustive history as it would be impossible to cover so much ground in our humble publication. We have done our best to touch upon Portsmouth’s complicated and colorful past, from triumphs to tragedy. We hope this zine will make you think about all the elements that led to creating the rich community the Portsmouth Public Library serves today. Please do investigate local history in context, preserve and share our collective stories, work to know more about the place we call home, and responsibly create history for future generations to explore!

The celebration of Portsmouth’s 400th anniversary is technically a representation of its 1623 colonization through 2023. It is imperative to acknowledge and honor what came before. Indigenous peoples called this place home for millennia before Europeans arrived. Indigenous history is undeniably inextricably intertwined with this land’s history. As a community, we all must strive to embrace the diversity of voices and perspectives that make Portsmouth truly Portsmouth.

In the creation of this zine, we strove to embrace this diversity. We hope it serves as a humble reminder that the story of this city is certainly not confined by 400 years, or any arbitrary timeline chosen for celebration. We are part of an ongoing saga, including many races, ethnicities and colors, small and large events — a continuous narrative that unfolds with each passing day. It’s a long story that does belong to all of us, a collective tapestry that weaves together, thread by thread, ensuring that no voice is silenced, no contribution is too small, and nothing is forgotten.

All links in the online zine are clickable, but please visit our Resources & Additional Reading page for more information.

Play Zine

Come play with us! 

A Zine focused on Play? Really? You might be thinking “why now”? When events around the world are heavy, and people are feeling overbooked and overwhelmed. Folks are feeling frazzled and burned out. Others are feeling lonely. Others on autopilot. Play, we discovered, might be a remedy. This is a gentle invitation to reevaluate our relationship with fun and play.

It turns out that Play and Fun have important roles for our well-being. According to the National Institute of Play website “for adolescents and adults play is an antidote to stress and a foundation for wellness. When we have playful experiences, we are improving our brains and our lives.” Play can relieve pain as well as improve brain function and how we manage stress. Play releases the feel-good hormones of endorphins, serotonin, dopamine, and oxytocin. It stimulates creativity and improves relationships. 

Catherine Price, author of The Power of Fun, shares that fun and play improve our physical and mental well-being. It is essential to forging connections, finding meaning, and improving health. Play is a lighthearted attitude. It doesn’t have to be playing games. It is letting go of perfectionism and not caring as much about the outcome. 

This is permission to feel all the feelings. We can still be anxious about current events and find delight in play. We can bring a spirit of playfulness to situations. 

Read on to discover more about incorporating more play into our lives, learn about Mahjong and Pickleball, meet a board game designer, get some helpful reading lists, and even turn this zine into a board game!

Let’s Connect and Play! Pick up a print copy in the library, or read online.

Death Zine

We are all bound together by our mortality, yet death is a topic rarely discussed in pleasant company. By embracing open and honest discussion around death, we hope you will be able to use this zine as a tool to open the door to factual and compassionate discussion around the topics of death and dying, and also find comfort in knowing just a little bit more about “the great unknown."

Pick up a print copy in the library, or read online!

All links in the online zine are clickable, but please also see our Resources and References page for more information.

Anti-Ageism Zine

In 2021 we created a zine to highlight Anti-Racism resources to provide insight into a movement that is affecting our nation in a major way. We also began thinking about the library's responsibility as a community hub and we asked ourselves: how can we be more welcoming, more accessible, and more equitable to all who visit our space? In our discussions, we came to realize there is one issue that affects every single one of our patrons and staff: AGEISM.

The truth is we all experience judgment or even discrimination based on our age, regardless of our age! At different points in our lives, we might be dismissed as "just kids" or "over the hill;" our questions belittled by phrases like "you'll understand when you're older" or "you're out of touch;" our ideas disregarded because "this is the way things have always been done" or "you have to keep up with the times."

Sometimes it's just annoying or humbling to be put into a box based on age, but these judgments can also have real world consequences like deteriorating mental health. In fact, depression is the most prevalent mental health problem among older adults, and those living with depression tend to visit the doctor more often, use more medication, incur higher outpatient charges, and stay longer in the hospital (CDC, 2008).

So what can we do to change the stigma associated with age? You've made a great first step by picking up this zine! We don't have all the answers, but we've come up with some truly wonderful books, films, and podcasts that will help you understand ageism and all the ways it sneaks into our lives. We hope this encourages you to keep learning, keep reflecting, and keep reading! 

Anti-Racism Zine

Libraries, like all public institutions, have a history of exclusion, segregation, and discrimination. This includes our own beloved PPL. As the staff of the library, we are raising our voices and saying it is time to change.

In June, we launched a staff working group that we’re calling TIDE: The Taskforce for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equity. Our weekly meetings have encouraged us to speak candidly about our own experiences, to educate ourselves about the experiences of others, and to look critically at our library. What can we do to better serve the human beings in our community? How can we uncover and combat racism in our collections, our building, and our profession?

Zines have long been used to easily share information, encourage personal expression, and promote community. In this tradition, we created a zine that serves as both an invitation and a challenge to ourselves and our patrons - a starting point for critical reflection that will hopefully inspire conversation, education, and action. Our zine includes reflective prompts as well as resource lists to help us integrate anti-racist work into our daily lives. We have personally engaged with many of the resources we list. These are the books, films, and podcasts that have inspired us to examine our preconceived notions of race and racism. We acknowledge that this zine is curated by a predominantly white staff and encourage you to check out additional resources created by BIPOC folks (such as those listed in this zine and our #ReadWoke lists which are findable on our website).

It’s taken a long time for us to get here and we know we’ve only just begun. If you want to come along with us on this journey, you’re in the right place! Spend some time with the prompts, sign up for our Standing Up To Racism course, and, as always, keep reading!

The PRRTT April 2020

The PRRTT (short for Parrott Avenue, where the library is located) is a small zine with book lists, book reviews, and more - written, designed and illustrated by library staff!

What you'll find inside this issue:

  • How to get a beach brain
  • YA books adults will love
  • Playlists with music available on Hoopla
  • Strange things we've found in the library
  • Book/music pairings
  • Crossword
  • and more...

Click here to get the printable file (8.5 x 11, double sided, black and white), or read online below!

The Parrott Magazine


The Parrott was a quarterly magazine from the library. Written, edited and designed by library staff, The Parrott featured book reviews, interviews, and more. Readers could get an inside look at their library and their community.

The library no longer publishes The Parrott, but you can read all the archived issues below!

The Parrott Winter 2017

What you'll find inside this issue:

  • Cover Artist Interview with Patrick Healey
  • Views of PPL art show
  • Interview with the Director
  • Review of The Girl with all the Gifts
  • and more...

The Parrott Summer 2016

What you'll find inside this issue:

  • Practical Magic: 3D Printing
  • Interview with local inventor Sam Asano
  • Review of The Invention of Nature
  • Heather DJs your summer experience
  • and more...

The Parrott Spring 2016

What you'll find inside this issue:

  • Interview with cover artist Sam Paolini
  • Barb's list of awesome books to gift for holidays, birthdays, and more
  • Interview with former City Council member Stefany
  • Speculative Film review of What if...
  • and more...

The Parrott Winter 2015

What you'll find inside this issue:

  • Review of Modern Romance
  • Remembering Pat Palmer
  • Interview with filmmaker Michael Rodriguez Torrent
  • Short stories for winter
  • and more...

The Parrott Autumn 2015

What you'll find inside this issue:

  • Cover model interview with Tana Sirois
  • Research Tips from Richard
  • Interview with Knate Higgins
  • Jessica shares with us the story of Lyman D. Spalding
  • and more...

The Parrott Summer 2015

What you'll find inside this issue:

  • A note from the Assistant Director
  • Review of Americanah
  • Heather reminisces about mix tapes and shares a playlist
  • Help Special Collections identify the graduates of PHS class of 1929
  • and more...