Using the Dewey Decimal System

I’ve said I don’t utilize my local library system nearly as much as I should. But there once was a time in which I did. During my early teen years I constantly made my mom take me to the library to check out new books. But there was always one constant. I never browsed. I always reserved books beforehand, which leads me to the Dewey Decimal System.

I have no idea how to use it. I remember in school all library books would have a decimal on the spine for classification purposes. I never understood it then and I still don’t understand it now. Granted, I have no experience in library science.

I know some libraries have abandoned the system in recent years, but why not just organize the library in the same manner bookstores are organized? That doesn’t seem unreasonable. And I bet library patrons would better be able to navigate the library.

Am I the only one here?

11 thoughts on “Using the Dewey Decimal System

  1. So, I work in a Public Library. Our particular library has abandoned Dewey for the fiction sections, dividing those by genre, then by author. But, nonfiction is still sorted by the Dewey decimal system. It makes categorizing and sorting nonfiction much easier because similar topics are near one another. For example, cooking, gardening, and home organization/design are all in the 630-648 range. Books about anxiety, depression, ADHD, etc., are all 616, but with varying decimals. It allows us to organize the books in a much more in depth way, letting the patron find exactly what they’re looking for without having to browse through a ton of books.


  2. I don’t think it is hard, but it can make books hard to find. Like if you have a book with the same number but different authors you have to look hard because they have the same numbers but different authors. So in a way it can be easy, but then annoying.


  3. I used to be a teacher-librarian for a government school in Sydney. Our fiction section was by author so the children could easily find their favourites. The non-fiction was sorted by the Dewey decimal system so all of the dinosaur books were in the same place. Kids love dinosaurs. All of the history books were together … all of the science books were together. Easy peasy!


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