Document Type



This article presents the results of a preliminary study to examine the cataloging and classification schemes and ideological factors that play out in book discovery platforms for children’s and young adult books. Using Critical Race Theory and a Rapid Contextual Design approach to exploring the curatorial behaviors of school librarians when searching for diverse books, the study offers design ideas for retooling discovery platforms in ways that bridge the cultural disconnect that young adults from historically marginalized racial backgrounds experience in their libraries. The article concludes that in order for school librarians to find, recommend and teach about books that reflect race, equity and inclusion themes, they need more sophisticated and user-centered features that reflect critical race and multicultural analytic frameworks. This includes the need for a common vocabulary around issues of race, equity and inclusion that can simultaneously cut through the ambiguity of social tagging and yet subvert the status quo of entrenched liberalism and/or racially biased ideologies embedded in traditional classification schemes and hierarchies, such as those used in Library of Congress subject headings. The findings further suggest that school librarians would benefit from enhanced education and training in the intersections of cataloging, classification and critical race scholarship.


Cataloging and Metadata | Library and Information Science | Race and Ethnicity


© 2020 Kafi D. Kumasi et al., published by De Gruyter. This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 Public License.