Dewey or Don’t We?

The new Perry Branch Library in Maricopa County, Arizona has created a firestorm of controversey and debate by dropping the Dewey Decimal system as the means of organizing its collection.  Instead, the library has adopted an organization system favored by large booksellers such as Barnes and Noble to make it easier for patrons to browse and locate materials.   Materials are organized into broad subject areas and by author instead of the Dewey Decimal system.  While both systems of organization share some common denominators, the Dewey Decimal system breaks its organization down into numbers assigned to discipline or subject area; within these 10 broad categories are many subcategories. 

Now you may be thinking, “Why should I care?” about this issue.  Many librarians and scholars wonder if this particular revolt against the Dewey Decimal system may have ramifications for other public schools:  this public library is also serving as the high school library!

What prompted this public library to toss aside the Dewey Decimal system?  Marshall Shore, MCLD’s adult services coordinator, surveyed library patrons in the area; 80% reported they came to browse rather than find a specific title.  Consequently, Marshall decided to adopt the “Barnes and Noble” approach to improve patron access to materials. 

Take a few minutes to read these articles about this issue:

What do you as high school students, teachers, and friends of our library think about this issue?  Did this library do the right thing by dropping Dewey and adopting a system that seems to work for its patrons?  Were they wrong to abandon a system that has been the “standard” for years and provides a consistent standard from one library to another for organizing library collections? 

Our current CCSD board policy mandates we use the Dewey Decimal system, but what if you as stakeholders had a chance to address the school board on this topic?  Which system would you prefer:  traditional Dewey or something more along the lines of Barnes and Noble?   What would be the pros and cons of dropping the Dewey Decimal system?  Do you think that adopting a more non-traditional system would increase library usage and book circulation at Creekview?

Please share your thoughts on this issue!  We want to hear you! 

Other links of interest:

Categories: Book Musings | 4 Comments

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4 thoughts on “Dewey or Don’t We?

  1. Rosie

    i personally think the dewey system is unnessary, when the last name system is easier to remember and is qicker to find. i think the dewey system should not be used. i normally never try and look up non-fiction because the dewey decimal system confuses me to much

  2. Dylan

    I think that the Dewey decimal system should br dropped for something more modern, such as organizing the the books by popularity, release date, or even both. The Dewey decimal system I believe makes finding books more complicated to find because you have to find the number of the book and then find the section of numbers that the book is in.

  3. Emily

    In my opinion I would like to see something like the Barns and Noble. I think that it would be neat to try something different like that. I think that the Dewey Decimal system works fine but I think that it would be good to change it. I think that it would also be good for you to locate the material that you need or want. I think that I the long run it would be a good thing.

  4. Danielle

    I think dropping the Dewey decimal system is a good idea. It has never done anything but confuse me. I think that using the same thing that bigger book stores use is a good idea. It would be easier to me to find a book by a category or author than by having to hassle with the Dewey decimal system. I think that the transition will make it easier for people to find what they are looking for.

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