Weekly response, Erin E. McCabe

There’s a certain severity to the judgment of “banking education” that appeals to me in the Drabinksi article, “Teaching the Radical Catalog”. While librarians and school teachers answer to some different authorities with different goals, critical assessment of a catalog’s anthropological biases expands beyond that explanation into radical learning. Education reform is such a hot button issue (especially nowadays in my hometown, Chicago – with teachers’ strikes and low income district schools closing) that it struck me as almost snuck in here under the guise of a shift in cataloging as a more or less tidy fix.

It certainly seems like the only valid option on the table. A change of heading classifications is both insufficient and completely inefficient, given the fluid nature of social evolution. Then, removing a hierarchy of categories is simply not a possibility, it runs against the very definition of classification.

I love any support for critical pedagogy but the more pessimistic side of me thinks it might actually be easier to change the headings. Afterall, we’re talking a shift in not just how patrons use the library, but in how students, or people, use their brains. It’s pretty cool that librarians can be find themselves in a pretty uniquely flexible position to start this kind of thing.


About Erin E. McCabe

Publisher relations and content development assistant at JSTOR. Master's candidate in Library and Information Science at Pratt Institute.

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