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Doing without Dewey June 9, 2009

Posted by bookgoddess in Book Floor, Books, Just Browsing, Librarians, Public libraries, West Palm Beach Public Library.
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The Rangeview Library District near Denver has decided to discontinue use of the Dewey Decimal system for its shelving arrangements.  They will use an organizational scheme similar to a bookstore.  I do not know all the details of how this will work, but since the Rangeview Director, Pam Sandlian Smith, is my former boss, friend, and generally greatly admired person, I am quite interested in seeing how it turns out.  And let’s just say that most of Pam’s ideas turn out to be very good ones.  (Keep in mind that she dubbed me the “Book Goddess.”) 

We actually considered this approach for our Book Floor at the West Palm Beach Public Library, but eventually chose to use bookstore categories AND keep the Dewey Decimal system.  So – we do have a separate cookbook section, and a history section, and even some more unusual sections like Guys Read and Go Green, but within those sections the books are arranged by Dewey. 

I was a bookseller for eight years before I went to library school, and I like to think that I can see the strong and weak points of each system.  At our library, I believe we have the best of both.  You can walk in the door and go right to the section of your choice (there are about 50) and enjoy browsing as you might at a bookstore.  You can also use the computer catalog or the assistance of a friendly library employee to find the exact book that you want.  

There were a number of considerations that went into our decision making, but I think that we arrived at the best arrangement for our library.  If you visit the Denver Post site, you can see the article and comments about the Adams County Public Library.  I’m happy to see that people care so much about their local library. 

Happy Reading,

 

The Book Goddess

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