School library discards outdated and offensive books on colonisation
Adam Carey, 18 February 2023
Dozens of 20th century non-fiction titles deemed historically inaccurate or offensive have been removed from the Northcote High School library as part of a push to decolonise the school’s book collection.
Texts that refer to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as nomads or hunter-gatherers, or that depict European colonisation as peaceful and omit reference to frontier conflict, are among those that were cut from the school’s collection.
The audit resulted in 36 books being removed from the library and a further 12 titles being filed under a new restricted category.
Victoria’s school librarians’ association, which is developing a “diversity toolkit” for schools seeking to update their collections, said Northcote had set an example for other schools to follow. Northcote has also encouraged other schools to follow its lead.
The large government school in Melbourne’s north leaned heavily on the guidance of Dr Al Fricker, a Dja Dja Wurrung man and expert in Indigenous education with Deakin University, in auditing all 7000 titles on its library shelves.