The Henry Madden Library Diversity Committee will host a screening of the documentary “Change the Subject” on Friday, November 22. The film tells the story of a group of students at Dartmouth College, whose effort to change an anti-immigrant sentiment in their library catalog took them all the way to the halls of Congress. “Change the Subject” shows how an instance of campus activism entered the national spotlight, and how a library cataloging term became a flashpoint in the national immigration debate.
While researching immigration, a Dartmouth College student kept encountering the term “Illegal aliens” as a library subject heading. As a person who had grown up undocumented in Georgia, she was disturbed by this institutional subject heading, which is considered a slur. So she did something about it: she and other students joined librarians in petitioning the Library of Congress to change its terminology. “Change the Subject” tells the story of these students’ journey, and also considers the ways that language is often weaponized to divide and dehumanize people.
“We hope this screening will contribute awareness to the Fresno State community by showing viewers what activism can do. Also it reminds us all how important the role of libraries and education institutions are in providing social and academic growth opportunities, both negatively and positively. We hope the screening contributes to the community in such a way where individuals are able to feel comfortable in expressing their thoughts and opinions on all subjects,” says Sarah Pech, chair of the Henry Madden Library Diversity Committee.
For this free screening, the Henry Madden Library has also invited campus faculty, Dr. Yuleinys A. Castillo, who will mediate a discussion after the screening. The trailer for the film can be viewed on YouTube.
“Change the Subject” will be shown in Henry Madden Library room 2206 from 3 p.m. – 5 p.m. on Friday, November 22. Admission is free. For more information on the film or the Library Diversity Committee, please contact Sarah Pech at 559.278.3009 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.