Controversy in the Library of Congress (Blog #2)

Library of Congress subject headings are titles that are used to catalog materials. The subject headings allow people to access certain collections and establish subdivisions that allow people to locate certain texts easier. Although these headings provide organization and benefit researchers, some of the subject headings are controversial including “illegal alien.” Melissa Padilla, a main proponent for the removal of these subject headings, has argued for their replacement because she feels that this term is demeaning towards undocumented people like her that come to the USA to start a new life. In addition, “alien” does not properly characterize the diligent workers that contribute to the national economy. On the other hand, conservative lawmakers have become frustrated at the opposition to these subject headings because it is straying from the written law that uses terms like “illegal alien.” The law is considered accurate information and the Library of Congress is obligated to follow it because of its legitimacy. Personally, I do not understand why the subject headings cannot be replaced with terms like “unauthorized” or “undocumented” because the other terms do seem belittling to people that have come to this country to survive and build a new American life. The fact that conservative politicians are so deeply invested in this issue is worrying because it is simply a matter of headings in a library. Another questionable subject heading could be “Indians” referring to the native peoples of the Western hemisphere because these people were not actually Indian rather Native Americans. Policies moving forward that could remove or prevent the creation of offensive subject headings could be a committee instituted by the Library of Congress that must vote to decide on these matters.