Mary Hess and others are teaching the Dismantling Racism workshop this weekend. Participants will be wrestling with hard questions and working to effect change in themselves and the church. We’ve pulled together a mini-display of books from Luther’s collection that deal with some of the issues. As I looked at the display in the Reading Room I was reminded of how subtle racism can be and how pervasive.
When you are looking for a book you can do a title or author search if you know what you want. To find books on unfamiliar research topics you might try a keyword search. In our catalog you will get SUPERIOR results if you do a subject search. The Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH) are used to identify the topics a book covers.
Multiculturalism --Religious aspects --Christianity.
Once you find a book that looks interesting you can often find more by clicking on the LCSH which are hot-linked. The Library of Congress cataloging librarians chose these headings to make your search “easier.” At times they are right on and appropriate but they can also be confusing, behind the times, not politically correct, and offensive.
Sanford Berman, legendary Hennepin County cataloging librarian, spent much of his professional life attempting to change the LCSH. A brief look at this is found on Wikipedia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sanford_Berman in the section on Alternative Subject Headings. Berman felt so strongly he wrote a paper, "Prejudices and Antipathies: A Tract on the LC Subject Heads Concerning People."
So, as you learn and move toward new understanding, don’t forget that there is bias in every institutional system. We all must work towards change.
— Jennie Bartholomew, Electronic Services (and activist!) Librarian
P.S. Wikipedia is a controversial site for many (not recommended as a resource when you are writing a paper). In this case I thought their summary of Berman’s work was well done.
Scavenger Hunt Clue #8: What library staff member has his or her office in the stacks?
Find the periodical on Black Sacred Music, special issue, Vol. 6, no. 1, Spring 1992.
Name four (4) genres of music represented in this issue.
What fervent wish did Duke Ellington express (p.151)?