This Library Takes an Indigenous Approach to Categorizing Books (dailygood.org)

 

Books on Indigenous communities often get looped into the history section. As a result, information on Native peoples literally gets left in the past.

Xwi7xwa Library (pronounced whei-wha) at the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, is working to change that. The library aims to counter Western, colonial bias and better reflect the knowledge of Indigenous peoples. By offering an alternative to the widely used Dewey Decimal and Library of Congress classification systems, this library aims to take steps toward decolonizing the way information is sorted, cataloged, and shared.

For Indigenous visitors, it’s a safe space. For non-Indigenous folks, Parent said, it’s a welcoming learning experience.

The system incorporates Indigenous perspectives when categorizing books. One of the most important ways it does this, said acting head librarian at Xwi7xwaAdolfo Tarango, is by using subject headings that reflect a tribe’s preferred name.

But it’s not just Indigenous students who benefit. The library is also intended to serve as a learning tool for non-Indigenous students.

To read more of Sydney Worth's article, please click here.

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