'Change the Subject' Documentary
May 7, 2019 3:27 PM   Subscribe

'Change the Subject' Documentary
'Change the Subject' is a documentary about working to change how libraries label immigrants. Here's a trailer (and a second trailer). In 2014 a Dartmouth College student researching undocumented students in the U.S. repeatedly encountered the term “Illegal aliens” as a subject heading in the library catalog. Dismayed by this use of biased language she worked with CoFIRED (a student run undocumented immigrant rights group at Dartmouth) and rallied college librarians, and ultimately librarians across the United States, to challenge how the Library of Congress categorizes books and other materials about undocumented people. This 55 minute film features interviews with students, faculty, librarians and congressional representatives involved in this instance of campus activism that entered the national spotlight (NYT link). As of this posting, the Library of Congress has yet to 'Change the Subject' and 'Illegal aliens' remains the authorized cataloging term for issues related to undocumented immigrants.

I co-directed this with Dartmouth College librarian Jill Baron, working closely with two of the students at the center of the story (Melissa and Oscar), and did most of the camera and editing work as well. The bulk of the action takes place between 2014 and 2017, and the film has been in production since mid 2016.

It's finally finished and we are rolling it out with screenings at libraries, educational institutions, conferences, etc. and are getting tremendous interest and support. Follow us on Twitter @ChangeTheSubjct, like us on Facebook, or send us a note via our contact page on the film's website at Dartmouth to stay in touch about when and where it will be playing next or learn about scheduling a screening or other ways to help out.

If you will be at the ALA conference in DC this year you can catch it there, where we are hoping the director of the Library of Congress will be able to make the screening as well and maybe comment on the current status of the subject heading.

Looking a bit further out we have interest from PBS networks in New England who would broadcast the documentary at the end of 2019, and then we plan to start making it available for streaming in early 2020.

I got to meet Jessamyn a couple of weeks ago at our first screening; she encouraged me to put this up on Projects after she saw the film (which she also contributed a bit of artwork to!) and I told her that I'd been a mostly-lurker on this site for many years (since 2005??). So thanks Jessamyn for the push and here it is!
Role: co-director, videographer, editor
posted by soy bean (0 comments total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
This project was posted to MetaFilter by CMcG on May 9, 2019: 'Change the Subject' Documentary

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