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

Fri Dec 20 12:23:14 MST 2013

I agree with those who have commented that we shouldn't throw Dewey
away. As has been stated by many posts, we jump around too quickly in
education and follow every new bandwagon that comes along.
As I teach my students, Melville Dewey was a genus. His idea in 1876 is
just a solid today as it was then. His system works as well today as it
did then, even with all of the new topics and subjects that we have
added since then.
 I like the ideas suggested by some that books could have a separate
genre label put on them, if you have time to do that it would be a great
One of the main things I remember from the library media classes I took
many years ago was that we catalog books in our libraries where the
patrons, our students, are most likely to find them. I do that, or try
to, to this day. I don't always follow the rules of Dewey as I catalog
books, nor do the rest of you. We put books where students can best find
them. But, in my opinion, that is by following the Dewey system. We need
to teach it to our students. 
LuAnne might remember this, as we took classes together. We were taking
classes out of Logan, sitting in the UVU library. My sixth grade
daughter attended classes with me, so that I didn't have to drive home
alone late at night. The teacher was speaking about a certain book and
LuAnne turned to my daughter and said, "Patricia, go find that book for
us." Patricia, a sixth grader, got up and went out into that big college
library. She was gone for 20 mins. or so, but she came back with the
book. I don't know who had taught her the Dewey system, but she
understood it well enough to find the book.
Let's teach our students how to use a library and the Dewey system. It
is a life skill that will assist them into the future.
Kendall Crittenden

"There are so many wonderful things in life to be afraid of, if you
just learn how scary they are."
>From The Tale of Despereaux movie

from the desk of:
Kendall D. Crittenden
Library / Media Specialist
Timpanogos Intermediate School
200 East 800 South
Heber City, Utah 84032
(435) 654-0550
kendall.crittenden at wasatch.edu
home e-mail: kdcritt at msn.com

>>> Luanne Olson_media <olson at alpinedistrict.org> 12/20/2013 7:52 AM
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>

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> 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> 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
olson at alpinedistrict.org
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