Decolonizing the Card Catalog

April 19, 2019

Wednesday was National Librarian Day, and over at Smithsonian Magazine, Zita Cristina Nunes honors an important figure in library science: Dorothy Porter. As a librarian at Howard University, Porter made it her mission to collect and preserve works related to the global black experience—and to address how these works needed to be catalogued in new and specific ways. “Starting with little, she used her tenacious curiosity to build one of the world’s leading repositories for black history and culture: Howard’s Moorland-Spingarn Research Center,” Nunes writes. “But she also brought critical acumen to bear on the way the center’s materials were cataloged, rejecting commonly taught methods as too reflective of the way whites thought of the world.”

Image credit: Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Manuscript Division, Howard University

is a writer and illustrator. She is the author of two illustrated books, Last Night's Reading (Penguin Books, 2015) and Sanpaku (Archaia 2018).

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