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Happy Birthday, Melvil Dewey!

December 8th, 2011 · No Comments · Books, City Library

So, who is this Dewey fellow, anyway?  Melvil Dewey (Dec. 10, 1851-Dec. 26, 1931) invented the shelving system used in libraries around the world, the Dewey Decimal Classification.  He developed the system while a student at Amherst College.

 Basically, the system allows libraries to group books about a similar topic together, based on a “call number.”  Books are first grouped into one of ten main categories, then each category is divided into smaller sections as your topic gets more specific.  Each book has a number assigned to it based on its specific topic and the books can then be shelved in numerical order.

 For a great, easy-to-understand explanation of the Dewey Decimal Classification, check out for a fun website created by sixth-graders in Jonesboro, Arkansas.

 In addition to his classification system, Melvil Dewey established the world’s first library school, in 1887, at Columbia University; co-founded the American Library Association, which is the oldest library association in the world; and first published Library Journal, read by public librarians to help them keep current with what is going on in the library world, as well as providing them with reviews of books and other library-related products.

Is it any wonder that Melvil Dewey is referred to as the “Father of Modern Librarianship”?

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