Decimating Dewey: North Liberty Goes First in Iowa

Decimating Dewey: North Liberty Goes First in Iowa

Decimating Dewey was the topic of the April LISSO meeting. North Liberty Community Library Director Dee Crowner, Assistant Director Jennie Garner (2000 SLIS grad), and Adult Services Librarian Elaine Reitz spoke about the idea behind getting rid of the Dewey Decimal System and the practical challenges involved.

North Liberty is the first public library in the state to try another classification system called BISAC, which is what many bookstores use in their behind-the-scenes work.

The librarians answered questions and engaged students in discussion about serving users and change in libraries.

“Libraries can’t be stagnant or you’re going to become a warehouse,” Crowner said—adding that the North Liberty library continually responds to patron needs and doesn’t mind trying new things.

Students asked questions about a variety of topics including signage, subject decisions, how people are currently using the collection, library layout, staff time and opposition within the library community.

Reitz, who is doing much of the hands-on work for the adult nonfiction collection, said the more she re-catalogs, the more sense the new subject-based system makes for today’s library user.

North Liberty librarians made the decision to get rid of the Dewey Decimal System after attending a workshop at a Public Library Association conference. They then visited the public library in Frankfort, Illinois, which has gone Deweyless for its adult non-fiction collection.

The project is being done in conjunction with major expansion plans for the North Liberty library, which has been at its current location since 1997.

The guest speakers said SLIS students are welcome to volunteer at North Liberty to gain practical experience.

Other LISSO Announcements:

Vicki is looking for volunteers to help with setup for the April 15 poster session. Any students not presenting should contact Vicki if they are interested in volunteering.

The next LISSO social is April 29 at 6:00 p.m. at the Sanctuary.