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Teach Me How to Dewey

Dewey is dead; long live Dewey

The Dewey Decimal Classification (DDC) is kinda weird. For today’s app-ified patrons, it’s not very intuitive and seems tattered, like one of the old books it classifies. But despite what the sayers of nay say, it’s not time to dump Dewey. Instead, we should try to get to know it a little better.

Librarians encounter Dewey every day while finding books for patrons, weeding the stacks of old books, and selecting new material for the shelves. Yet it can be a bit hard to understand at times, even for librarians. How can such a fusty system be made fresh again?

Teach Me How To Dewey exists for four reasons:

  1. To better familiarize library users with the library’s foundational organizational system (i.e. the thing that makes it all work);
  2. To shine a light into the stacks, so to speak, and show the people who don’t use libraries very often what’s available freely to them;
  3. To show why books and libraries are friggin’ awesome;
  4. To disseminate as many Dewey-related puns as possible.

I’ll tour through the DDC ten decimal points at a time, highlighting a few representative/intriguing/weird books from each section.

Libraries are full of amazing things. Here’s hoping Dewey will help us find them.

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