Change A Subject Heading, Change The World

The Smithsonian Mag is reporting that the Library of Congress is ceasing to use the subject heading "illegal aliens" because of feedback from student activists.

In 2014, the Dartmouth Coalition for Immigration Reform, Equality and DREAMers (CoFIRED), a group dedicated to advancing the rights of undocumented students, first petitioned the Library of Congress to get rid of the term “illegal alien” in its cataloging system in favor of the term “undocumented immigrant.”

What's the big deal with subject headings?

When it comes to Library of Congress subject headings, there’s plenty. The subject lines are an integral part of the world’s most widely used library indexing tool, the basis for thousands of daily searches around the globe. And now, reports the Dartmouth, the Library of Congress will revise its subject heading of “illegal aliens” due to feedback from student activists.

The student group commented on the change by saying, With this change we hope meaningful conversation about the dehumanization of immigrants will be sparked across the nation. 

 And what better place to have that conversation than in a library?

Update: Well, the GOP wasn't happy with this change and created a rider in a funding bill to undo the Library of Congress's change. Looks like we are stuck with "illegal alien."

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