Future of Libraries 2010
Cracking the Code: Beyond Dewey
Rachel Fewell and Lynda Freas, Anythink Libraries
The Colorado Libraries decided that they wanted their new libraries to be a third place, and to banish Dewey. London had the “idea store” — an experience model that was not common in libraries. Maricopa County and Frankfurt Library (IL) did a word based system. Darien Library created subject-oriented “glades” of materials and Hennepin has broken their collection into “neighborhoods” with groups by topic but still with Dewey labels.
In 2009 they did a roll-out of their “Anythink Libraries” brand to replace their former name, the Rangeview Library District. The buildings were remodeled to include reading areas with fireplaces, comfortable furniture, children’s areas with kid-friendly and colorful furniture. They put their family and parenting books in the children’s area. The shelving was all perfectly linear, but they moved to a bookstore shelving model with modular shelves at right angles, with curves, and all oriented by topic/word (they’re calling them neighborhoods). The libraries’ collections are being classified and shelved with words and not numbers.
4 people spent 1000 hours doing their catalog conversion for the whole system from Dewey to word-oriented classification, which they call WordThink. It took about a week per branch to do the conversion, and the new branches all are launched in BISAC. They replaced all of their labels with items that were brighter and more readable too. Topics like farming, languages, etc. These signs are yellow typeface on a green background. Second level signage is provided on the shelves themselves vertically, blue typeface on a white background. Nonfiction is filed alphabetically by title, except for areas that it doesn’t make sense (e.g. literary criticism). Fiction is filed by author within each genre.
They had to figure out with their vendors and technical services librarians how to translate BISAC classifications into WordThink classification. BISAC grids are available for free online to everyone. They also planned for yearly updates and retrofitting. 4 staff members changed item records for all the dewey ranges, going through item by item. Every single non-fiction collection was converted (including LPs, Books on CD, J & E, Teen).