Change the Subject Documentary Screening

The School of Information Science (SIS) and UK Libraries’ Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion committee sponsored a screening of Change the Subject, a documentary about labels, libraries, and activism. This screening was organized by Sarah Barriage, Robert Shapiro, assistant professors for the School of Information Science, and Treshani Perera and Taylor Leigh. The sponsored screening included in-person and virtual sessions of the documentary. All MSLS students were invited to view the online screening and contribute with discussion questions for the in-person session and discussion. The virtual screening was a success with 185 students accepting the invitation. The discussion following the screening touched on the practical implications of the documentary for UK Libraries and for the profession.


“In Knowledge Organization, one of the required courses for the MSLS program, we introduce students to concepts such as metadata, classification schemes, and controlled vocabularies,” Barriage said. “Change the Subject provided an excellent opportunity for students to see how something as seemingly mundane as the language used in the library catalog can have a very real impact on the library's users.”

“ The discussion among UK Libraries' staff at the in-person screening offered a unique opportunity for students to witness how these types of situations are discussed within the library workplace.” Barriage said.


Change the Subject tells the story of a group of students at Dartmouth College, who from their first days at Dartmouth, were committed to advancing and promoting the rights and dignity of undocumented peoples.  In partnership with staff at Dartmouth College, these students - now alumni - produced a film to capture their singular effort at confronting an instance of anti-immigrant sentiment in their library catalog.  Their advocacy took them all the way from Baker-Berry Library to the halls of Congress, showing how an instance of campus activism entered the national spotlight and how a cataloging term became a flashpoint in the immigration debate on Capitol Hill.

Trailers for the documentary can be found here:

YouTube Trailer:

YouTube Trailer #2: