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Library “Quaranzine” Finds Beauty in Social Distancing

Three paintings of women with houses for heads

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues, people everywhere are living through historic, challenging times. With that in mind, Virginia’s Arlington Public Library (APL) launched a “quaranzine” to provide a creative outlet for local residents.

Since early April, APL has published weekly online issues of the Quaranzine, spotlighting multidisciplinary contributions from community members of all ages; submissions include paintings, comics, poems, photographs, sculptures, and even recipes. Some works evoke the anxiety, anger, and grief that characterize life during COVID-19, while others take a more light-hearted approach, focusing on moments of beauty and humor amid such difficult times.

The Quaranzine is the brainchild of Liz Laribee, APL’s programs and partnerships librarian; the Editorial Board consists of Katelyn Attanasio, Brit Austin, Hannah Axt, Ruth Compton, Deborah Khuanghlawn, Janelle Ortiz, Peg Owen, Megan Wianecki, and Alex Zealand as well as Laribee. “Creative expression is a really valuable tool I have for working through my own thought processes and anxiety,” she told WAMU. “Having a tool like that for myself, I thought it might benefit a larger community group.”

Here are a few highlights from the 11 Quaranzine issues published thus far:

Molly McCracken, “Try to Relax,” Issue 2

Check out all nine issues of the Quaranzine at the Arlington Public Library website.

All artwork shared courtesy of Arlington Public Library.

Want to create your own art or writing inspired by the pandemic? Check out these tips from archivists at Los Angeles Public Library and University of Nebraska.

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