Have you ever wondered why fiction is still found in the nonfiction section of the library? Why are some books shelved alphabetically and others numerically? What is the Dewey Decimal System, and why do libraries use it? Did you know that Melvil Dewey assigned a call number for every book in the library-- even for fiction books?
This PowerPoint lesson sheds some light on Dewey’s original intent of library organization through his Dewey Decimal Classification System, and how librarians have “modified” his system throughout the years in their efforts to make library books easier to find. But some of the lessons we teach like dividing the library into nonfiction (books containing real or factual information and shelved numerically) and fiction (not real; from the author’s imagination and shelved alphabetically) aren’t entirely accurate when there is still a lot of fiction throughout the “numbered” shelves.
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The presentation touches on the current trend of libraries moving away from cataloging and shelving library materials using the DDC, but it also defends learning the important life skills of understanding alphabetical and numerical order, both used extensively in the DDC. Be sure to check the slides before showing, like text partially covered by a shape; sometimes things shift during Cyberspace.
Donna Van Cleve
aka Shelf Mouse