The Anchor Archive Zine Library was opened in 2005 by Sarah Evans and Son Edworthy in the living room of their little house at 5684 Roberts Street, in the north end of Halifax. Sarah and Son ran the library out of their home, with the help of friends and volunteers. They started a summer zine residency program in 2006, where residents stayed for 2 weeks at a time in the shed and made zines and other art projects.
Sarah moved out of the house in 2007 and her room was turned into a screen printing studio, operated by Ink Storm Screen Printing Collective. When Son moved out one year later, Sarah, Son, Capp Larsen, Lucas Dambergs, Susanna Eve, Amanda Stevens, Caleb Latreille, Zac Howarth, Keeley MacLean, Skye Lewis, Leah Girardo, and others formed a collective and decided to operate the house as an arts space called the Roberts Street Social Centre.
A variety of different programs and projects happened at the Roberts Street Social Centre until 2013, along with continuation of the zine library, screen printing studio, and residency program. Son's room was turned into a small affordable meeting and events space and called "the Crow's Nest." A speakeasy called the Tigers' Den happened there on Thursday nights for a few years. The “Dinner And A Movie” series was an ongoing fundraiser for Roberts Street, where a community member presented a film, explained why it was important to them, and made and served a meal for the entire audience in the Crow’s Nest.
The zine library acquired a photocopier called The People's Photocopier to provide low cost photocopying to the community. Every spring there was a flea market and screen-printed patch sale in the yard, which often included live music and free haircuts. Food Not Bombs cooked in the kitchen for about a year. Books Beyond Bars, a program to bring books to women in prison, was also affiliated with the Roberts Street Social Centre and used the space.
In 2012 the collective received an eviction notice from their supportive landlord, who needed to move into the house due to financial issues. A long search for affordable and accessible space began, and a year later the Anchor Archive and Ink Storm moved temporarily into the former storefront space in Creighton Manor, an old apartment building at 2086 Creighton Street, where some Roberts Street Social Centre collective members lived. After extensive renovations, they ran the zine library, screen printing studio, and residency program out of this space.
When this building was sold and gutted a year later, Ink Storm moved into storage and the Anchor Archive moved to the back room of Plan B, a cooperatively run vintage and artist store on Gottingen Street. The Anchor Archive resided in Plan B for 2 years.
Through all these moves, open hours still happened, zines were borrowed, zine workshops were facilitated, affordable photocopying was provided, the zine fair happened ever year, and we hosted residents from around the world every summer. Meanwhile, Ink Storm moved into a space on the second floor of 6050 Almon Street along with Sad Rad Music Collective, an all-ages show and practice space. Plan B was turning out to not be an ideal location for the zine library and the members wanted to reunite with Ink Storm, so in 2016 the zine library moved to 6050 Almon Street as well. The space here was named "RadStorm" and operated collectively as a jam space, show space, DIY arts space, and zine library until this building was also torn down in fall of 2018.
The Anchor Archive Zine Library (and all of RadStorm) moved to 2177 Gottingen Street in October 2018, where it still lives today. RadStorm is now at street level in the downtown north end and offers space to a wide variety of community organizations, projects, and events. Efforts are underway to raise funds to buy the building and create a permanent home for the Anchor Archive. To contribute visit the RadStorm website!
If you want to learn more about the history of the Anchor Archive and Roberts Street Social Centre, check out these zines in the library!