Last time I wrote about my plans to ditch Dewey and move to reading rooms in the non-fiction area. We ended up having quite a discussion on Facebook about it, and some of the questions raised surprised me.
I’m thinking about some of the issues that came up, and will sit down with my staff this week so we can talk about it. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts.
Here’s what we talked about:
Susan said “Personally I like the idea of RFIDing all the books then throwing them in a pile on the floor. Give each patron a RFID scanner and let them find the book they want! Imagine all that time saved in shelving books and keeping them in order. The treasure hunt factor would appeal to kids”.
And my reply? Hmm, oddly enough I had not thought of that. Or if people are worried about books being on the floor, say the large print, we could just randomly shove them on some shelves. Footnote: Susan’s a great colleague and stops me taking it all too seriously and over working – thanks Sue!
Cheryl said “It occurs to me that you could keep the dewey system but simply call the categories what they are instead of the numbers”.
Cheryl we’re still going to label the spine with Dewey because of the books going to our other branches. Some of my staff want to keep them in Dewey order within the categories but I’m not so sure. Mind you, some categories will have a wide range of Dewey numbers in them.
Cheryl – hmm so making shelving hard? do you have whatever the 300s are labelled as whatever category that covers?
Nope. We talked about that and decided if the staff can’t figure out what shelf the books go on, then how on earth do we expect the customers to. I do think they’ll end up in Dewey order within the categories, so that we can find reserved titles quickly.
Cheryl – what if a green dot represented 300s for staff to shelve and 300 were labelled simplified name of what the 300s contain for the customers to find?
I don’t want to just label the 300s with a basic name. Think about gardening books, in the 635s. But books on garden design might be in the 712s (? from memory ?) and building garden furniture somewhere else again. I want people to go to a shelf and ALL the garden related books are together. Does that make sense?
Cheryl – absolutely… didn’t remember Dewey being so fractured…. I like things in collections for ease of finding – will have to come and check it out when you’re done.
Wendy said “Great idea Cath, I often just peruse the shelves thinking that once I stumble on the subject it will be easy to find the book, but in reality it’s quite time consuming and I get so sidetracked!! I did wonder if you would need a sport section though”.
Nice to have your point of view Wendy. Would you think to look for sports books in the PLAY category? And yeah, most people do just roam round looking for inspiration.
Wendy – I’m not sure what I would have looked under ‘Play’ for, designing play areas for kids maybe. Didn’t think of them being under ‘Play’ actually, I thought sport would come under ‘Leisure’ and thought kids may not work that out lol.
Hmm, okay – all good food for thought. My guess is we’ll put books out then as patrons comment, end up moving some till it feels right.
Megan said “Health and history too Cath.”
History – hmm. Now that needs some thinking about. Does it become a new category, or does it go under ‘world’ because it’s the history of a specific place? And health – more hmming. This is fascinating.
Cheryl jumped back in with – this is fascinating. Just thinking of where I would look for history. Depends on whether it pertained to one country or region or whatever or whether it was like Bill Bryson’s short history of nearly everything in which case it seems like it should be its own category. Health under people? Which might be a subcategory under animals or life?
Cheryl we thought books on travel including travelogues would go under ‘world’ so probably place specific history would too. We did think that books people read ‘just for leisure’ – that is, not to learn a specific thing – and coffee table type books could go under leisure. So the category would include books on leisure activities and books that ARE leisure activities.
Cheryl – hmm dunno seems that too little categories could be cumbersome. I might be just as confounded finding something that comes under a broad category such a leisure as I would finding it under the Dewey system. Or is the plan to subcategorise to a certain extent?
We were trying to avoid sub categories really. But we’re also prepared to ‘suck and see’ – if we do it and people need it modified, we’ll do that.
Maria said “I love the idea for smaller libraries. Even if it’s partially so, for example very popular sections become non-dewey. It’s out of the box thinking, so appeals to me!”
If you only do some sections, don’t you get back to things like gardening being fragmented? And yes, of course it appeals to you!
Maria – Hmm I suppose you would be in danger of fragmentation.
And finally, Michele said “Just do us purists a favour Cath and separate Fantasy and SciFi. They are NOT the same despite some Auckland librarians opinions!”. (no fear, Michelle, they’re separate and staying that way in my libraries)