Things I want to do when I am a librarian, Part 1

So, I am working in a library now! It is pretty great. I’m not technically a librarian yet, but it is a good first step!

Anyway, I now spend an inordinate amount of time browsing around in the library catalog whenever I have an idle moment at the desk. I am extremely interested in the ways in which things are cataloged and categorized (reasons why I want to be a librarian in the first place…), and today I’m thinking about the fact that books about, for instance, a romance between two women (or even just about one woman who is a lesbian), are generally given the subject heading “Lesbians”.

Now, I don’t have a problem with this. I think it’s totally fine and useful for, as an example, lesbians who want to see themselves reflected in the fiction they read.

But what I really, really want to be able to do is go through all of the books that feature straight couples and add the heading “Heterosexuals”. Or, like append the “Romance” heading with “Heterosexual” (i.e. “Romance — Heterosexual”)

Because the current system, where straightness goes uncommented upon, while lesbianism (or gayness, or whatever other sexual minority) gets explicitly pointed out, really supports the idea that straight people are the default humans. And I don’t like it.

And also, the idea of marking almost the entire catalog as “heterosexual” just appeals to me in some sort of absurdist way, and makes me grin, so :)

One comment

  1. Never thought of it when I allocated subject headings during my cataloguing years. You make an interesting observation, though. I guess I was so brainwashed that hetero is ‘normal.’ Welcome to a great profession! “Librarians are the secret masters of the universe. They control information. Never piss one off.” – Spider Robinson

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