At the Library 7/8/21

At The Library

By: Jenna Messer

As we have witnessed these past months, glass makes a massive mess when it falls from the floor above. As a result of the glass incident, this summer the Library Pages have been focused on shifting, organizing, and reshelving boxes of books to allow for the carpet to be replaced. It was during the process of moving boxes of non-fiction books that made me start thinking... Who is Dewey and why are we using his decimal system?

My curiosity about the Dewey Decimal System needed to be satisfied, so a personal investigation ensued. I learned that this organization system we all know and love was named after its inventor, named Melvil Dewey. Dewey was a librarian in the town of Amherst, Massachusetts who was committed to making the structure of libraries as efficient as possible. Prior to the invention of the Dewey Decimal System, there was no uniform way to organize non-fiction books; some libraries would group books of similar size together, while others just shelved non-fiction books from the date that they came into the library. He was dissatisfied with the variations of methods of organization within the non-fiction section of the library, and he devised a solution that is still relevant today. 

In 1873, when Dewey was a 21-year old librarian, he pioneered the Dewey Decimal System and it was published three years later. The Dewey Decimal System is based on his principle that knowledge can be divided into ten main categories: general works, philosophy/psychology, religion, social sciences, language, natural sciences/mathematics, technology, the arts, literature/rhetoric, and history/geography. From these main groups, the categories are further subdivided into smaller niches of subject. This innovative method of organization has revolutionized the process of standardizing the cataloging and neatness of libraries. Today the DDS is used in more than 200,000 libraries in 135 countries around the world, making it easier for library patrons to find the information they need.

Although the Dewey Decimal System can seem daunting and complicated, do not let it scare you away from checking out a non-fiction book. Come to the circulation desk when you require assistance. We are happy to help you find a specific book or lead you to a subject area so you can browse within your favorite interests. Whether it be poetry or technology, astronomy or sewing, the Washington Public Library has something for you to check out and delve into. That Dewey guy, he really knew what he was doing.

New Materials @ the Library

Adult Fiction

The Heathens by Ace Atkins
Choose Me by Tess Gerritsen
The Third Grave by Lisa Jackson
It’s Better This Way by Debbie Macomber
When Stars Collide by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
The Shadow by James Patterson
The Bone Code by Kathy Reichs
The Cellest by Daniel Silva
Nine Lives by Danielle Steel

Adult Large Print Fiction

Waiting for the Night Song by Julie Carrick Dalton
142 Ostriches by April Davila
The Last Taxi Driver by Lee Durkee
Dead West by Matt Goldman
The Royal Governess by Wendy Holden
Sweet Sorrow by David Nicholls
New Waves by Kevin Nguyen
One Fatal Flow by Anne Perry
When Stars Collide by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
An Unexpected Peril by Deanna Raybourn