Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Link to It: Dewey Decimal Debate

I find my feelings divided over the disappearance of the Dewey Decimal System.  On the one hand, I can see children checking out more nonfiction books if they can browse them easily by topic.  And, at our library, folktales and poetry seem to be overlooked because they are stuck with the "numbered books" that parents and children don't browse through as often.  However, when we go to the library, we aren't usually looking for books about a certain topic,  but we do regularly go in search of books by an author whose other books we have enjoyed.  I sure would like to visit the Ethical Cultural Fieldston School and see their new system in action.  You can read an article from School Library Journal about it here.

I love Kevin Henkes' new easy reader, Penny and Her Doll, and was happy to read that he has a new Penny book coming out next year.  Read about it here.  (Thanks to PW Children's Bookshelf for the link.)


  1. The Dewey Decimal or any other system of organization has the same problem: different people have different opinions on the organization of materials. The failing here is not so much the system as it is the "card catalog". Especially nowadays when we have computers, we should be able to search books by tags and see similar books with the same tags.
    For instance, if I looked up Eragon, then I should see tags for Fantasy, Christopher Paolini, Dragons, Magic, etc. If I clicked on any one of these tags, then I could see all related materials, and once I decide on a book I like, then I can go look for it (and at that point, the organizational system used becomes almost irrelevant).
    The problem with Eragon under the current system, for instance, would be that would I put it under Fantasy, or by author's last name, or dragons, or epic novels? Since very few books, especially fiction, treat just one topic, there will always be "lost" books/subjects, no matter what the system used.
    Also, while on the note of cataloging, libraries should start loaning iPads to patrons so that they can walk around the library with the catalog in their hand instead of having to write down the book's number. Just saying.

    1. In children's libraries (particularly those for younger children) the issue of how to organize the books for browsing is interesting. Do kids look for books by topic? by author? or just by what looks interesting? Tackling the computer inventory/search system is another question.