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Change the Subject

Change the Subject

How did a subject term in a library catalog become a "flashpoint on the immigration debate" and go all the way to the halls of power on Capitol Hill?

The subject heading in question is "illegal aliens." Students and librarians at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire felt it was a dehumanizing and inflammatory term. 

One student researcher, Melissa Padilla, was disgusted and perplexed to see this subject heading in the online catalog. Why would Dartmouth not "know better or do better?" she wondered. 

For the full story, which began in 2016, watch the documentary Change the Subject. If you don't have time to watch the nearly 1 hour documentary, read this article from American Libraries: "Conscientious Cataloging."

For UnLearn week, we'll be discussing this film along with other issues of racial justice in the library world in our online panel on Oct. 8 at 3 p.m. Not only that, we'll be hosting a watch party for the full documentary folloring the panel, at 7 p.m. here:

Click this link to join the watch party on Metastream:

You will be asked to download Metastream freely on your browser to view - please make sure the viewer is given permission for this event.


Join us and connect to more events for UnLearn Week.

Also, review this bibliography to find reading ideas (books and articles), and to discover names of librairans of color who had a significant impact on their profession.

- Posted September 21, 2020 by Kathy DeMey (10:57 AM)