Okay, I’ll admit it. My initial reaction when I heard the news of the Maricopa library dumping Dewey. I was immediately aghast, and against it. My instinct wanting to keep Dewey said, “Well, sure we have always talked about needing better signs to help find books in Non Fiction, but that’s all we need – no need to take away the call numbers too! How will anyone ever manage to find a specific book in a whole field full of ‘History’ books.”
As I pondered this and wondered how in the world the Maricopa’s new system could possibly work better, I wandered around the Net reading all about it. Then I found it – Gather No Dust: Doing it without Dewey – the blog that spelled it all out for me, and I felt really silly for not seeing ‘it’ sooner, as blatant as it was right there in front of me.
Even with better signs the Dewey numbers will still ‘scare’ patrons. Sometimes they won’t even consider going in to that part of the library. I don’t think it’s really that it’s hard, just that it’s very unfamiliar to many people. Now Maricopa has taken a layout and format that is already familiar to everyone, and essentially reformatted their library. It seems to work kind of like genre sections in Fiction, but instead of Horror you have Cooking or Gardening-Perennials. I like it. I think it could work really well.
I do have one suggestion that I think would help it be even more familiar to patrons and also make it easier to find things in a larger collection. At Maricopa they use subject labels and shelve them alphabetically by title – why not add the author’s last name to the label and shelve them the same way fiction is shelved. Browsing is still fully possible, and consistency always makes things easier.
Now how do we get everyone else in the world to realize this is a good idea?