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RL Research Award for Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration: Last year's rules

Tuesday, May 2 we presented the 2017 award!

Congratulations to all the entrants including grand prize awardees Jarrett Patterson & Mike Tripoli, creators of Shar-Peibriel!

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Rohrbach Library Research Award for Cross-Disciplinary Collaboration & Publishing

Honoring academic achievement that transcends traditional boundaries while bringing knowledge and understanding to wider audiences through the medium of zines.

 Overview     Zines are independently published mini-magazines, often about a single topic. An excellent, fun, and inspiring introduction to them is Gear Up & Draw!, a zine about zines by Prof. Kevin McCloskey. It’s one of many works that you can read online, or on paper by visiting the Zine Library that faces the café on Rohrbach Library’s Main Floor.

Typically zines convey their creators’ passions and expertise using text and/or graphics, original and/or appropriated content, A variety of zinesclean simple layouts and/or elaborate jumbled collage. As a rule, clearly there are no rules that govern how zines look. However: To qualify for this award, zines must​​​ reflect collaboration between current KU students who, among them, are pursuing degrees in at least two different academic disciplines.

Because it's not always the case that a zine includes biographical details about (or even the names of) its creators, entrants are expected to submit a cover letter. ​​

Zines will be judged by a multidisciplinary panel that includes no fewer than

  • One representative of each of KU’s four Colleges
  • One Rohrbach librarian
  • Two at-large panelists, unaffiliated with KU, who have experience as creators, publishers, and/or distributors of zines

 Format    Dimensions, pagination, binding, use of color or lack thereof—all of these are entirely at the creators’ discretion. Nonetheless, entries should reflect choices that make sense for budget-conscious print publications normally intended for widespread distribution by mail and A variety of independent zinesfor ongoing perusal in public spaces. To qualify, your zine must be

  • Readily reproducible on paper through conventional printing methods, and
  • Capable of being rendered as a PDF (i.e., scanned, if a digital version does not already exist)

Though supplementary appurtenances such as stickers, disks, and other loose items are welcome when they serve to enhance the content of the zine, creators should consider the practicality and usefulness of any add-ons. The free printing portion of the award may not apply to reproduction of such accoutrements. And while judges give full consideration to that portion of a zine’s content that meets the two criteria above, we cannot guarantee they will be able to thoroughly assess any extra material.

A punk zine

 How to Enter    This year's deadline has passed. Entrants were asked to submit two printed copies of the entire zine and, if a digital version exists, submit the file or a link to same to  Entrants were also asked to include a printed cover letter containing, at minimum:

  • The zine’s title
  • The names, academic majors, and KU email addresses of its creators
  • A paragraph about your process; be sure to explain how your work exemplifies the spirit of collaboration, including how you resolved tensions arising from dissimilar perspectives 
  • A bibliography properly citing no fewer than five sources that contributed to the content and/or the look of the zine. Include this in your letter even if your sources are cited within the zine itself. (Note that sources about zines and zinemaking can count toward this requirement, as long as your work reflects what you learned from those sources.)

RL Zine Library at KU

 Prizes    All entries will be considered for addition to the Rohrbach Zine Library’s physical and online collections (if you do not want your work to be accessible on the web, say so in your cover letter). Creators of the top three entries will receive 20 high-quality copies of their zines. The grand prize of $500 will go to the creators of the zine judged best by the panel.

Winners will be notified, and announced to the campus community, during Finals Week no later than May 13, 2017.

 Questions    We welcome your questions! We at the library encourage you to seek feedback on design and writing as well as help with research. Feel free to email questions at any time to or to call Bruce Jensen (librarian) at 610-683-4766.


To encourage discovery, creation, and learning—beyond the conventional—by supplying. tools, inspiration, and know-how to spark the making, exploring, failing, sharing,trying-again, teaching and experiencing that make for a rich education.


Rohrbach Library | RL18
Kutztown, Penna., USA
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Tel: 484-646-4175
Bruce Jensen
Miguel Nieves
Zack Bell



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Tue, 10am-8pm
Fri, 10am-4pm
Sun, 3pm-5pm
Hours vary outside of Fall & Spring semesters
Other times by request!