Tuesday 23 June 2015

Blog Every Day in June day 23: What's in a call number?

Recently, the Central library of the Los Angeles Public Library system updated its blog concerning its decision to reclassify LGBT collections to a new call number area. Staff were alerted to the need to address the previous classification after a young man expressed hurt over seeing items regarding his orientation grouped alongside works on incest and bestiality. You may be aware of a common homophobic tactic to equate homosexuality to those practices,
Cataloguers and other staff worked to rectify this fault quickly, and produced a new classification scheme.

As the author of the blog mentions, "earlier call numbers had been more demeaning."

The tools librarians use to practice their profession reflect the values of the society they live in. Librarians cannot accept the use of tools and methods that may be only partially demeaning to their clients. To this end, the LAPL responded to this issue in an admirable way. 

It is vital for librarians, and particularly public librarians, that the methods by which information is classified is carefully examined, so that hurtful instances such as this do not have to be repeated. 

Caitlin Williams
Social Media Officer
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