Dear Raiah

In class this week we spent a lot of time looking at the ethics and politics of cataloging and classification, and it was a really good and really affirming conversation. It made me feel more confident in choosing librarianship. If I’m cataloging something, I have the opportunity to decide what the book is about, what and how many subjects to assign to it, and whether or not I’ll create as many access points to it as I can or not. The Library of Congress adds a few thousand new subject terms every year to the LCSH list, and every time a term is added or a term is replaced or removed, it is a chance for the list to become more inclusive, to create more access, and to respect more people. For example, there’s a push to change the subject heading “Illegal Aliens” to “Undocumented Immigrants”, and there’s a push to replace anglicized names of First Nations peoples with their non-English names, and a push to add subject headings around movements like Black Lives Matter, so that information on these things is represented accurately (and justly) and easy to find. Basically, I’ve been thinking about cataloging as a way of constructing access, and helping people find what they need in a library, and about the power behind naming things.

I’m not sure how well I’m explaining this, but it was a good week at school.

It’s been snowing in Edmonton, and there’s a good three inches of wet, heavy snow everywhere. I am not looking forward to winter. The dwindling light situation has been difficult already. I have a hermit weekend ahead of me though; I’ve got a ton of schoolwork to do and not a ton of time to do it in, so I don’t have time to be frustrated by the snow.


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