We're Done with Dewey


IMG_4727.JPGOverheard in the library: "I don't know who Dewey was, but he's never done anything for me!" We agree, and that's why we're doing away with the Dewey Decimal System. It's really an antiquated method for librarians - back when the books were kept behind closed doors - to find the books their patrons were looking for. Now, there's really no need for it.

The main transition to topics has been completed in Kendallville. This summer, the transition will begin at the Limberlost Branch. What you'll find all through the Children's Department, as well as the non-fiction sections of the Teen and Adult Departments, are books organized alphabetically by subject. Pretty intuitive, right? It's not a replacement for the library catalog, though. Each item still has a specific spot on the shelves, so it's just as easy to find a book you've looked up in the catalog. The difference? Rather than a "call number," the shelving location is a series of words detailing the topic and sub-topics.

Children's Services Manager Beth Munk explains why this move is so important. "We work in words, not numbers," she said. "When we search Google, we type in a topic. When we use an index, we search for key words. But, mostly for me in the Children's Department, it's about ease of use. Kids will be able to find topics they are interested in...and they'll all be located together, not dotted throughout our collection."

All subjects are clearly identified through signage, and the labels on the books break out categories even further as necessary.

Before sorting the collection, Adult Services Manager Leah Dresser conducted a "deep weed," removing all the old, outdated and uncirculated items. Now, we're reinvesting in the Adult Non-Fiction collection. "Organizing books by topics really helps us find the holes in our collection," said Dresser. "Now I can direct the funds to make the biggest impact for our patrons."