Monday, May 16, 2016

Dewey Lite: Flippant or Forward Thinking?

Gattullo Marracolla, E. & Parrot, K. Dewey-lite: a solution to the nonfiction problem (PDF document). Retrieved from Institution Handouts:

From a collection development standpoint, is reorganizing the school library using a system other than Dewey Decimal a good plan?  The 2014 ASLA Institute presentation, Dewey-lite: A Solution to the Nonfiction Problem, explains some of the potential benefits of this method, such as a significant rise in nonfiction circulation, better visibility of a wider variety of titles, and ultimately a patron-focused collection.  This presentation may be an oversimplification of these benefits, although this has become a trend across US children's libraries, as well as in Canada and others.  So what would one of these library collections look like?

First, nonfiction sections are broken up into, what is considered more intuitive categories such as these mentioned in the presentation from Darien Library,

  • Create: which includes music, arts, gardening, dance, and cooking
  • Then & Now: which includes geography, history, and current events
  • Animals: which includes all living things prehistoric and currently living
Or these from the Metis system as mentioned in a School Library Journal 2012 article,
  • Languages
  • Humor
  • Community
  • Countries
  • Machines
  • Ourselves
When the reorganizing first takes place, sorting, organizing and weeding will likely take place too.  These new categories may bring unidentified collection needs to light and/or may help to address some needs that had been previously identified.  

Here is a look at this process in action, and the reaction afterward of two elementary school librarians in Ontario, Canada.  

J. Hasselberger
Spring 2016

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