It’s not often that cataloging issues are considered newsworthy in the library profession at large, but this news is most definitely worth sharing.
The Library of Congress recently announced that it will soon be removing the subject heading Illegal aliens (and all related headings) from its list of authorized subject headings.
The decision comes on the heels of a year and a half of lobbying efforts which originated here in the Dartmouth College Library. Research and Instruction Services librarians Amy Witzel and Jill Baron had worked closely with the campus student group CoFIRED (Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality, and DREAMers), who expressed strong concerns about the use of the term “Illegal aliens” in library catalogs and other discovery tools. Amy, Jill and I prepared the necessary documentation to make a formal petition (through our Library’s membership in the SACO program) to the Library of Congress to change the subject heading. After months of deliberation, the Library of Congress denied our petition on the grounds that Dartmouth’s proposed replacement heading (Undocumented immigrants) was problematic in the context of their internal terminology.
At the American Library Association’s Midwinter Meeting in Boston in January of this year, one of my colleagues on ALA’s Subject Analysis Committee continued to pursue the issue of removing the subject heading Illegal aliens within various components of ALA and succeeded in bringing the matter before ALA Council as a resolution. ALA Council overwhelmingly passed this resolution, urging the Library of Congress to replace this subject heading.
In February of this year, the Library of Congress again considered the request, this time at a much higher administrative level, and agreed to remove the heading Illegal aliens and replace it with two new headings: Noncitizens and Unauthorized immigration. It should be noted that it is extremely rare for the Library of Congress to make changes to its subject headings based on community pressure.
This decision represents a great victory not only for the Dartmouth students who initiated the process, but for all undocumented library users in the United States and those who champion their rights and dignity.
For more information, see: http://www.loc.gov/catdir/cpso/illegal-aliens-decision.pdf
(Photo by liltree, cc by-nc-nd 2.0)
John DeSantis, Cataloging and Metadata Services Librarian and Bibliographer for Film, Theater and Russian Language and Literature
Students in Professor Colleen Boggs’s “Civil War Literatures” senior seminar this spring used a wide range of materials held in Rauner Special Collections Library to extend their study of literature beyond poetry and prose of the era. Their work has culminated in three exhibitions currently on display in Rauner.
“‘We love to tie our exhibit spaces to student projects,’ says Special Collections Librarian Jay Satterfield. ‘It offers students a whole new way to present their research. Student-curated exhibits offer a real-world challenge by demanding that students communicate their ideas to the general public in a meaningful way. This is something that many people in the academic world find very difficult but is so essential to what we do.'”
Read the full article, published 6/12/15 by Dartmouth Now.
Two hundred thirty-two undergraduates participated in the Wetterhahn Science Symposium, held Thursday, May 28 in the Life Sciences Center, which for the first time included an award presented for Library Research in the Sciences. Two students, Annie Fagan ’15 and Mallory Rutigliano ’17, each won an award, which was presented by Dean of Libraries and Librarian of the College Jeff Horrell.
From The Dartmouth:
“This year, the winner of the symposium’s inaugural Library Research in the Sciences Award was Annie Fagan ’15, whose senior honors thesis was on the tropical dry forest streams across a land-use gradient in Costa Rica. Lora Leligdon, librarian at Kresge Physical Sciences Library and organizer of the award, said that the competition, new this year and judged by a panel of College librarians, was meant to encourage students to reflect on the research and inquiry components of their scientific question.
‘We want to hear about the student’s reflective learning process,’ she said. ‘We want to see them connect their library research with scientific research.'”
Winners of the Library Research Award, as well as the winners of the Wetterhahn/Sigma Xi science poster competition, will have their certificates or posters displayed in Kresge Library for the coming year and will also be featured in brief video interviews where they will talk about their research experience.
Congratulations to all who helped make this award happen, most notably Lora Leligdon, with help and support from others in Kresge Library, the Biomedical and Feldberg Libraries, the Library’s Education & Outreach program, the Library’s administrative office, and the Friends of the Library, who sponsored the cash awards.