Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Dewey Free Update

This summer I decided to change my nonfiction from Dewey to Subject category. You can read why here. I wanted to update you on student reaction. We have been in school for just over a week and I've seen most of the students in the school for orientation and first check out. Student reaction has been difficult to measure. I asked each 6th grade class if they remembered the Dewey Decimal system from elementary school and most of them raised their hands. I asked how many did not like that system or found it confusing and almost all of them would keep their hands up. I explained our subject category system and pointed out the different areas and signs. No one leapt out of the chair to celebrate, but I did notice that more browsed the nonfiction area and they seemed to navigate easily and independently. Usually I have to show them how to search the catalog for the subject they want. No more. Now they walk around and look at the signs and help themselves. I was able to spend time helping students choose books instead of showing them where to find their favorite topics. Several of my female students noticed and complimented the Wordfoto signs. The boys thought it was "cool" that War books have their own area. My library helpers have been able to shelve books with less help from me. The most vocal supporters of the change have been teachers. One negative that I have encountered is when completing our annual library survey for our state department of education it asked for average age of the collection by Dewey 100. Luckily I had last year's collection analysis to use for now, but in the future these numbers will not be accurate. I am looking forward to seeing if there is any change in the frequency of nonfiction check outs and any long term effects of the switch.


  1. It's been two years since you originally posted this. Are you still happy with the changes?

    I'm the librarian of an elementary school in Athens, GA. We recently finished our transition away from the DDS and we couldn't be happier. It was a lot of work, but the payoff has been so worth it. Students are able to find books independently and are exposed to more great books that they like.