An Arizona library is getting rid of the Dewey Decimal System.
There are a million reasons why this is lame, first and foremost is Dewey Decimal is not that hard to understand. It’s actually a really good system that does an excellent job of organizing millions of books.
And, no, MRP is not just saying this because I have (ahem) advanced Dewey training from my first job as a mighty red crayon shelving books at the local library.
According to the AP story, “Instead, tens of thousands of books in the Perry Branch library will be shelved by topic, similar to the way bookstores arrange books.”
The article goes on to quote Marshall Shore, adult service coordinator for the Maricopa County Library District. He says, “People think of books by subject. Very few people say, ‘Oh, I know Dewey by heart.’ “
Here’s a newsflash, people: The Dewey Decimal System also arranges the books by subject!
So, really, you go to the computer, you look up the book, it tells you the number, you find the book with the corresponding number. To MRP, the real issue has always been that libraries don’t do a good enough job of mapping out where stuff is located. Once I have my little number, I try to remember, “Are 800s on the first floor or second floor?”
Another idea would be to have more prominently placed and visible general guides to DDS that said, “800s — literature, 900s — history” for people who are inclined to browse. They could also make the tiny little numbers of the spines of the books easier to read. Maybe we don’t call it Dewey Decimal System, which frankly has always agitated the math-o-phobe in MRP.
Having said that, let me say MRP does not think that eliminating Dewey is the way to go. But here’s something else: the article also said, “Across the U.S., some libraries are trying to lure readers by adding lounge chairs and coffee shops.”
Now that’s an idea that MRP can get on board with!
Thanks to Gopher!