Before you could search #skateboarding on your phone, magazines were the way into the culture. They were how a kid in Kansas, far removed from the skate industry, could feel connected to the scene at large. They were a way for skaters to communicate and progress skateboarding. There’s something irreplaceable about seeing a skate photo or interview in print, on paper that you can rip out and tape to your bedroom wall. But as the internet continues to push out physical mags, who’s working to preserve this invaluable history?
Enter Kevin Marks and his non-profit, the Look Back Library. His mission is to preserve printed skateboard materials, promote literacy, & build publicly accessible skateboard magazine libraries around the globe. Ever since Kevin got his first issue of Thrasher Magazine back in 1986, he’s been on a journey to keep the medium alive, saving every issue of every magazine he could get his hands on. There’s a special feeling you get from a physical magazine, and Kevin wants to keep that feeling alive and share it with as many people as possible.
With the support of Levi’s Skateboarding, we flew out to Kevin’s homebase in sunny San Diego, where he organizes the magazines to deliver to skate shop libraries across the USA. Even if print is shrinking, Kevin Marks is making sure that printed skateboard literature will always be thriving and available to as many skateboarders as possible.
Do you have old magazines to donate? Interested in housing a Library at your nearest skate shop? Looking for a specific back issue? Hit up Kevin directly at [email protected] and enjoy the publicly accessible libraries he has built so far at these great local skate shops:
Launch – Community through Skateboarding – 1007 N College Ave #B Ft. Collins, CO 80524
Shrunken Head Skate Shop – 531 SE Morrison Portland, OR 97214
Aura Skatepark – 1074 La Mirada Ct. Vista, 92081
Red Curbs Skate Shop– 40923 Grimmer Blvd Fremont, CA 94538
The House Skate Shop – 637 South Santa Fe Ave #C, Vista, CA 92083
Look Back HQ – San Diego, CA – [email protected] (by appointment only)
Skate Lab – Simi Valley, CA – [email protected] (by appointment only)
Skate Works – Los Altos, CA – [email protected] (by appointment only)
Kevin Marks is also currently on an East Coast tour and will be taking donations at local skateshops. Check out if he’s in your area: http://lookbacklibrary.org/p/events.