[Library Media] Race-based subject headings

Joseph Nielsen Joseph.Nielsen at slcschools.org
Wed Mar 8 08:21:57 MST 2017

I cringe at it too, but maybe not for the same reason. I’m seeing more reviews now which specifically point out the ethnicity of the characters – particularly if they are involved in some type of cross-ethnic relationship. I suspect it is because of the rising trend in trying to make our collections more ethnically diverse. But I think a good story should stand on the merits of the story – not the multi-ethnicity of the characters. Where such information is relevantly essential – or essentially relevant - to the story line, then by all means put it in the review and tell the reader. But otherwise let the story speak for itself. Readers will picture the characters like themselves, identify with them and develop their own internal movie. And that is part of what makes reading so special.

Joseph R. Nielsen
Library Technology Teacher
Hawthorne Elementary School
Salt Lake City School District

From: library-media [mailto:library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org] On Behalf Of Cindy Mitchell
Sent: Wednesday, March 08, 2017 7:41 AM
To: library-media at lists.uen.org
Subject: [Library Media] Race-based subject headings

I have been editing a lot of MARC records lately and whenever I see "African American" or "Korean American" and other such subject headings they make me cringe.  I am thinking of deleting them all together.  Especially because the information is usually available in the summary of the book and who sees the subject headings any more except for us?  I'd appreciate some thoughts on this.
FYI - I have already eliminated the "Girls", "Teenagers", and "Boys" subject headings!

Cindy Mitchell
South Jordan Middle School
10245 S 2700 W
South Jordan UT 84095
fax: 801-412-2930
Scanned By Microsoft EOP
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