Thursday, June 23, 2016

Email your Representative to Eliminate Illegal Alien from the LOC subject headings via everylibrary

Email your Representative to Eliminate Illegal Alien from the LOC subject headings
everylibrary: June 2016

Some members of House of Representatives’ Committee on Appropriations are pretending to be librarians. That would be great if it meant better funding for libraries, stronger privacy protections for patrons, and a commitment to ending illiteracy in this country. Of course, that’s not what they’ve done. Instead, they are playing librarian and messing around with “Subject Headings” in the catalog.

As part of a normal revision, the librarians at the Library of Congress have proposed using “Noncitizens” and “Unauthorized Immigration” instead of the term “Illegal Aliens” when describing people. Several members of the House are aghast that the Library could possibly use updated terminology to reduce confusion and increase scholarly accuracy.  Certain members of the Appropriations Committee are demanding that the term “Illegal Aliens” be used by the Library. They even put language into the FY2017 Legislative budget that would direct the Library of Congress to retain the two pejorative subject headings “Aliens” and “Illegal Aliens.” It would tie the Library of Congress subject headings to the US criminal code, in fact.
That’s why we are asking you to stand with us and the librarians at the Association of Collections and Technical Services (ALCTS) who sent a letter to the House Committee on Appropriations that thoughtfully and thoroughly took them through the process that goes into setting Subject Headings. This is why they have Masters in Library Science. We need to let the rest of the House know how important it is to leave the library to the librarians. Please send them an email today.

Subject: I stand with the Library Of Congress!

I respectfully urge the House Appropriations Committee to strike language in legislation just adopted by its Legislative Branch Subcommittee that would bar the Library of Congress (Library) from implementing an appropriate and thoroughly researched change in its subject heading classifications.

Specifically, the Library proposes to replace the terms “Aliens” with “Noncitizens,” and “Illegal aliens” with two headings: “Noncitizens” and/or “Unauthorized immigration.” While some see politics in this decision we see only attention to historical detail, intellectual honesty, procedural transparency, and faithfulness to long standing precepts and practices of librarianship. These have been the hallmarks of cataloging for all of ALCTS nearly 60 years and of almost 130 years of library science.

I implore you and all Members of the Committee to strike all language from any piece of appropriations legislation that would countermand or modify the Library’s recent determinations pertaining to the terms “Aliens” and/or “Illegal aliens,” and to oppose any other legislation that would have similar effect. 

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