[Library Media] Library girl - this guy's perspective

Danae Leu DLEU at dsdmail.net
Fri Dec 20 10:50:56 MST 2013

As was mentioned before, Dewey does organize by genre more or less. As an elementary librarian I see my students innately look for similar book under the designated number long before I teach them a comprehensive explanation of the Dewey system in the third grade.

As for fiction, at first glance I would deduce that that assigning a book to one genre would be limiting. Genre stickers can be used to assist a browser who does not want to consult a catalog. I've made bookmarks for my students listing the books we have in different genres.. There are many books which appear on multiple bookmarks. There is perhaps an overly politically-correct part of me that bristles at the idea of labeling books as one thing. We would never do that with people. (I may have a problem with anthropomorphizing my book friends.) I would argue that a well-informed librarian is the best aid a library can have in getting the right book to the right student. I will be watching to see how genre-centered library fare.

I did create an extra fiction section in my library this year for early chapter books. I moved about 700 books from my fiction and picture book sections. They averaged around a hundred pages and were for the most part at a third grade or lower reading level. They are shelved alphabetically by author.  The section is naturally open to all grades but I found that first and second graders select most of their books through browsing and they were missing many books which were overshadowed by the larger titles in fiction. By moving the books that they will have the most success with to one location they are reading more widely than ever.

Have a happy reading holiday!

DaNae Leu
Snow Horse Elementary
Davis School District

From: library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org [mailto:library-media-bounces at lists.uen.org] On Behalf Of Emilee McCoy
Sent: Friday, December 20, 2013 10:06 AM
To: Harris, Laurel
Cc: Heather Tomlinson; library-media at lists.uen.org; Bill Goodrich; Luanne at lists.uen.org; Joseph Nielsen
Subject: Re: [Library Media] Library girl - this guy's perspective

The Dewey has its place. I feel we still need it.   When I organized a elementary charter school library.  I organized my fiction A to Z but then pulled out the popular series and had a series section.  It made it more simple for me to help kids find it.  I also took the leveled readers for K-2 and organized them by color level one through 4 and put them in bins.  It was great when the kindergarteners came in because they could pick stuff they could read.

Now I'm at a high school and I've taken my fiction and genre labeled them.  This year I put an extra spine label on historical fiction and put the time period of history that it was from.  That's helped the students find the time period of history they are looking for.

On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 9:10 AM, Harris, Laurel <Laurel.Harris at canyonsdistrict.org<mailto:Laurel.Harris at canyonsdistrict.org>> wrote:
Thanks to all the brave souls that came out in favor of Dewey.  I have to admit when I first read this article a few days ago I was turned off by the abandon Dewey comments but refrained from commenting because I thought many would disagree.  I have seen arguments pro and con in the media a great deal the last few years, a recent AASL Knowledge Quest was devoted to the subject with several takes on it.  I so agree with the previous comments and wish to add one more consideration.  I put genre sticker on my fiction titles and sometimes it can be very difficult to determine a genre for a title.  Many times it is multiple genre's.  Stickers allow for me to have that.  Shelving by genre does not.  I can't even fathom creating a system for non-fiction.  When I go to a book store I often have to ask where certain genre's or subjects are located.  I don't have to do that in a library.

Laurel Harris
Jordan High School

From: Paula Cloward <paulacloward at alpinedistrict.org<mailto:paulacloward at alpinedistrict.org>>
Date: Friday, December 20, 2013 8:43 AM
To: Luanne Olson_media <olson at alpinedistrict.org<mailto:olson at alpinedistrict.org>>
Cc: Heather Tomlinson <htomlinson at mountainvilleacademy.org<mailto:htomlinson at mountainvilleacademy.org>>, "library-media at lists.uen.org<mailto:library-media at lists.uen.org>" <library-media at lists.uen.org<mailto:library-media at lists.uen.org>>, Bill Goodrich <bgoodrich at dcsd.org<mailto:bgoodrich at dcsd.org>>, Joseph Nielsen <Joseph.Nielsen at slcschools.org<mailto:Joseph.Nielsen at slcschools.org>>
Subject: Re: [Library Media] Library girl - this guy's perspective

I agree with Luanne. I feel that the skills of using the Dewey is an important one that will be with students long after they leave our schools and move on into their lives. I guess we each need to assess the needs of our students with the 'life-long learner' in mind.

On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 7:52 AM, Luanne Olson_media <olson at alpinedistrict.org<mailto:olson at alpinedistrict.org>> wrote:
It is essential that we maintain the focus of our purpose in the library.  We are teaching skills to educate students to be life long learners.  The skills they learn transfer to life--other libraries and learning environments.  Elementary and secondary students are learning basic research and information skills.  They are emerging readers.  Don't confuse them with "specialty" collection trends.  Assist them to identify and locate what they need.  A library collection becomes fragmented with "pull-out" sections.  It is my experience that a well maintained and organized library collection is the best for students.

On Fri, Dec 20, 2013 at 6:45 AM, Bill Goodrich <bgoodrich at dcsd.org<mailto:bgoodrich at dcsd.org>> wrote:
We need to do what is best for the kids.  What does abandoning Dewey do for kids that are going to college?  Do we leave Dewey just to creat temporary momentum and excitement?  If we shelf by genre do kids get in a rut and never experience anything new?

In popular culture there is so much of jumping on every band wagon that comes by that we don't stop to consider the wisdom of those that have been on the trail for centuries.  I may just wait to see if this trend is still popular in a year or two.

On Thursday, December 19, 2013, Emily Davenport_fms wrote:
There is so much crossover these days I can't imagine trying to shelve fiction by genre.

On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 3:41 PM, Heather Tomlinson <htomlinson at mountainvilleacademy.org<mailto:htomlinson at mountainvilleacademy.org>> wrote:
I agree - Dewey is much too useful to abandon...

However - I'm with James Wilson (previous message thread) who asked if any of you have decided to organize fiction by genre.  How did it go?  Are you glad you did it?  Any pointers for anyone else considering it?

I'm in a K-9 school, and have divided the library into two sections.  One for everyone (K-9, but focused on K-2) and one for 3-9 only.  I think genre shelving could be VERY useful for the older fiction section.  BUT, then I think about logistics: multi genre books?  labeling books (in the catalog and on the spine)?  library volunteers who already struggle with two fiction sections (even adults...)?

On Thu, Dec 19, 2013 at 2:06 PM, Joseph Nielsen <Joseph.Nielsen at slcschools.org<mailto:Joseph.Nielsen at slcschools.org>> wrote:

It is entirely possible that the posting of this article came at a bad time for people to respond. I know I am having brain overload and working on mega doses of caffeine right now. (Ever tried putting a chunk of baking cocoa on your mouth and using Jolt Cola to slowly melt it? That will make you wired higher than Calvin & Hobbes.) So don't get too bent out of shape when the replies slowly trickle in.

And I agree with Marianne Bates, if your Principal doesn't have a clue about what you do, you have no one to blame but yourself (unless your administrator is just totally clueless).

But I'm not so sure that I see huge value in abandoning Dewey. Having worked in one of Utah's largest independent retail bookstores for 8 years before becoming a librarian, I can tell you that genres are very arbitrary, can be very difficult to assign, and sometimes so large as to be overwhelming. Take, for instance, one of my favorite books to read to 5th graders who are studying American History, "Mountain Man, the story of Hugh Glass." It is written as fiction, but his experience and all the principle events described in the book are firmly established as historical facts. It's the details that were created to tell the story. So do you classify it as Historical, Biographical, or Western? Do you use Explorers, Mountain Men, or US  History? And since it does tell the story of an historical event - do you perhaps even put it in Non-fiction, as I have seen some catalogs do? Any one of those classifications could be overwhelming in size.

The whole idea of Dewey is to be genre oriented, Mammals have their place, Weather has its place, Fairy tales, and Myths are separated between the 200's and the 300's. If you are worried about whether a book is in the right place you can decide for yourself how you want to align the classification of Dewey to fit your library and your readers. There is no governing body that is going to come to your library and condemn, or down grade it just because you chose to put the book about the movie Dinosaur under 781 instead of 567 where the CIP put it. Make your own choices and decide these things for yourself.

And all this comes with the added bonus of helping students learn to use decimals.
Emily Davenport
Teacher Librarian
Frontier Middle School
801-610-8777 x759<tel:801-610-8777%20x759>

Bill Goodrich
Library Teacher - XC Coach - Assistant Soccer Coach
Union High School
135 N Union St.
Roosevelt, UT 84066
(435) 725-4548<tel:%28435%29%20725-4548>

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Luanne Olson
Director of Instructional Media
Alpine School District
759 East Pacific Drive
American Fork, UT 84003
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Paula Cloward
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Pleasant Grove Jr. High School
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Emilee E McCoy
Paradigm High Charter School
11577 South 3600 West
South Jordan, UT 84095
Office: 801.676.1018
Fax: 801.676.1036
Cell: 801.673.4468
Email: emccoy at paradigmhigh.org<mailto:emccoy at paradigmhigh.org>
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