09 June, 2009

Library does away with Dewey

The Library Journal (US) reports that

"The six-branch (plus bookmobile) Rangeview Library District, Adams County, Colorado, will be the first library system in the country to fully drop the Dewey Decimal Classification in favor of a system adapted from that used in the book industry. While Dewey has been dropped in some smaller branches, Rangeview’s biggest building will have 85,000 items." They are using a retail system that bookshops use to categorise their collection and this is being mapped to their library management system.

This is a very interesting development and is probably the start of a popular movement. There are branch libraries in Melbourne (eg Hampton, part of Bayside Library Service) that have done away with the Dewey system and shelved their non fiction by subject. It makes it much easier for patrons to find all the items when they are grouped like this, as the Dewey system can separate titles that would make sense to be together.

When I was in Brisbane they tried this in some of the small libraries, but interestingly the patrons didn't like it and we moved back to the straight Dewey system. One of our branches, Thomastown, is going to experiment with shelving items by subject rather than Dewey, we will see how that goes.

What do you think? Should libraries stick with Dewey or explore other ways of shelving their books?


Anonymous said...

I would like to see certain high browse genres highlighted. For example travel, cooking and gardening area's could be implimented, with books, dvd's and magazines on the topic all found in one space. Borders Doncaster is a great example of this in action!
The dewey system would still be appropriate for the remainder of the collection.

Christine Mackenzie said...

thanks for your comment, we are exploring these options and I am pleased that you think it would work for our users

Karyn said...

We haven't done away with Dewey all together, books are still classified but then but into a genre area. Just like a lot of libraries have a biography section in dewey order. We not only have biography but also other sections. Like House & Garden which incorporates, botony 580s, gardening 635s, cooking and homemaking 640s and landscape gardening 712s.
So for all the purists we still like Melville, we just want to make it easier for everyone else! Karyn Siegmann Manager Bayside Library Service